Marine Science Faculty Publications

Red Tide Detection and Tracing Using Modis Fluorescence Data: a Regional Example in Sw Florida Coastal Waters

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CDOM, Chlorophyll, Fluorescence line height, Harmful Algal Bloom, Karenia brevis, MODIS, Ocean color, Red tide, Remote sensing, SeaWiFS, Water-leaving radiance

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Near real-time data from the MODIS satellite sensor was used to detect and trace a harmful algal bloom (HAB), or red tide, in SW Florida coastal waters from October to December 2004. MODIS fluorescence line height (FLH in W m− 2 μm− 1 sr− 1) data showed the highest correlation with near-concurrent in situ chlorophyll-a concentration (Chl in mg m− 3). For Chl ranging between 0.4 to 4 mg m− 3 the ratio between MODIS FLH and in situ Chl is about 0.1 W m− 2 μm− 1 sr− 1 per mg m− 3 chlorophyll (Chl = 1.255 (FLH × 10)0.86, r = 0.92, n = 77). In contrast, the band-ratio chlorophyll product of either MODIS or SeaWiFS in this complex coastal environment provided false information. Errors in the satellite Chl data can be both negative and positive (3–15 times higher than in situ Chl) and these data are often inconsistent either spatially or temporally, due to interferences of other water constituents. The red tide that formed from November to December 2004 off SW Florida was revealed by MODIS FLH imagery, and was confirmed by field sampling to contain medium (104 to 105 cells L− 1) to high (> 105 cells L− 1) concentrations of the toxic dinoflagellate Karenia brevis. The FLH imagery also showed that the bloom started in mid-October south of Charlotte Harbor, and that it developed and moved to the south and southwest in the subsequent weeks. Despite some artifacts in the data and uncertainty caused by factors such as unknown fluorescence efficiency, our results show that the MODIS FLH data provide an unprecedented tool for research and managers to study and monitor algal blooms in coastal environments.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Remote Sensing of Environment, v. 97, issue 3, p. 311-321