Marine Science Faculty Publications

VIIRS Observations of a Karenia brevis Bloom in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico in the Absence of a Fluorescence Band

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Oceans, MODIS, Sea measurements, Image color analysis, Satellites, Remote sensing, Absorption

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The Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) is not equipped with a fluorescence band, which may affect its ability to detect and quantify harmful algal blooms (HABs) in coastal waters rich in colored dissolved organic matter. Such a deficiency has previously been demonstrated for a bloom of the toxic dinoflagellate Karenia brevis in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico (NEGOM) in summer 2014. Here, using data collected in the field and by VIIRS and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), we show that such a deficiency may be partially overcome using a red-green-chlorophyll-a index (RGCI). A relationship between near-concurrent (±4 hours) VIIRS RGCI (Rrs(672)/Rrs(551)) and field-measured chlorophyll-a (Chla; in mg m -3 ) was developed and evaluated using calibrated Chla obtained by a flowthrough system. A mean relative uncertainty, which was approximately twofold lower than VIIRS OC3M Chla, was obtained for VIIRS RGCI Chla (mean relative error: ~56%) over a large range (0.5-20 mg m -3 ). Similar spatial patterns between near-concurrent MODIS-Aqua (MODISA) normalized fluorescence line height (nFLH) and VIIRS RGCI Chla imagery indicate that VIIRS RGCI may be used as a surrogate for MODISA nFLH in the absence of a fluorescence band. The success of this newly developed data product may be partially attributed to the 20-nm bandwidth of the VIIRS 672-nm band (662-682 nm) that covers a portion of the solar stimulated fluorescence region. However, whether such observations from a simple case study can be extended to other turbid coastal or inland waters still remains to be tested.

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IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, v. 12, issue 11, p. 2213-2217