Marine Science Faculty Publications

Whiting Events in SW Florida Coastal Waters: a Case Study Using MODIS Medium-resolution Data

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Whitings, floating patches of calcium carbonate mud, have been found in both shallow carbonate banks and freshwater environments around the world. Although these events have been studied for many decades, much of their characteristics remain unknown. Recent sightings of whitings near Ten Thousand Islands, Florida suggest a phenomenon that has not previously been documented in this area. Using medium-resolution (250-m) data collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) from December 2010 to November 2013, we documented whiting events and their spatial and temporal patterns in this region. Classification rules were first established, and then applied to all 474 cloud-free and sun glint-free MODIS images. Whiting occurrences were found between 25°46′N and 25°20′N and less than 40 km from the southwest Florida coastline. Over the 3-year period, whiting occurrence peaked in spring and autumn and reached a minimum during the winter and summer months. Further field and laboratory research are needed to explain driving force(s) behind these events.

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Remote Sensing Letters, v. 5, issue 6, p. 539-547