Mapping Macroalgal Blooms in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea using HJ-1 and Landsat Data: Application of a Virtual Baseline Reflectance Height Technique

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VB-FAH, FAI, NDVI, Green tide, Ulva prolifera, HJ-1, Landsat, TM, ETM +, Yellow Sea, East China Sea

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Several methods have been proposed in previous studies to map macroalgal blooms (MABs) in the Yellow Sea (YS) and East China Sea (ECS), yet some of the required spectral bands are not available on the new HJ-1 satellite sensors although they do provide optimal resolution and temporal coverage (30-m resolution with 2-day revisit frequency) for bloom mapping. In this study, an index of Virtual-Baseline Floating macroAlgae Height (VB-FAH) is proposed to use the green and red bands as the baseline to measure the height of the near-infrared (NIR) reflectance. Cross-sensor comparison with Landsat TM and ETM + data suggests that for several images evaluated here VB-FAH appears to be comparable to the previously proposed Floating Algae Index (FAI) even in the absence of a shortwave-infrared (SWIR) band. VB-FAH is applied to 30-m resolution TM and ETM + data for the YS during 1995–2006 and to HJ-1 data for the ECS during 2009–2014 to map MABs. Results show bloom history in the YS back to 1999 and early bloom occurrence in the ECS in winter and spring (e.g., February and March 2013). MABs are also found to extend to the ECS as far south as 26°N near Fujian Province and Taiwan, and as far east as the Kuroshio Current. These new findings provide important information for exploring the origins, causes, and consequences of MABs in the YS and ECS.

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Remote Sensing of Environment, v. 178, p. 113-126