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Detection of algal blooms over optically complex waters of the Arabian Gulf and Sea of Oman using MODIS fluorescence data

Al Shehhi, Maryam R., Gherboudj, Imen, Ghedira, Hosni
International journal of remote sensing 2019 v.40 no.10 pp. 3751-3771
aerosols, algae, algal blooms, algorithms, chlorophyll, coasts, ecosystems, fluorescence, models, moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer, radiometry, reflectance, remote sensing, suspended sediment, turbidity, Oman, Persian Gulf
The Arabian Gulf and the Sea of Oman are two of the most complex and turbid ecosystems in the world where algal blooms frequently occur. The conventional blue/green band ratio shows low performance to detect these algal batches in this region due to the effect of the non-algal parameters, shallow water depth, and atmospheric aerosols. Thus, an attempt to use MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) fluorescence for the detection of algal blooms in this region have been undertaken using in situ measurements (Chlorophyll a: Chl-a, coloured dissolved organic matters: CDOM, Secchi disk depth: SDD, and radiometric) collected in 2006, 2013, and 2014, and MODIS satellite images. MODIS fluorescence line height (FLH in W m⁻² µm⁻¹ sr⁻¹) data showed low correlation (coefficient of determination: R² ~0.46) with near-concurrent in situ Chl-a (mg m⁻³). This disparity is caused by the effect of the suspended sediments (SDD), CDOM (<2 mg m⁻³ or >2 mg m⁻³), and bottom reflectance (water depth: WD) parameters, where an increase of 1% in their magnitudes can cause a respective change of 13.4%, −0.8% or 6%, and 1.4% in the FLH. In this work, the positions of the FLH bands have been relocated to include 645 nm to reduce the effect of these parameters on Chl-a, which has improved the performance to R² of 0.76. This modified FLH (MFLH) model was found to perform well in the Arabian Gulf where the estimated bias, root-mean-square error (RMSE), and coefficient of determination are, respectively, 0.03, 1.06, and 0.76. High values of MFLH are indicating the areas of the algal blooms, while no overestimation was observed in the mixed pixel coastal areas. This result is explained by less sensitivity of this model to the non-algal particles, shallow water, and aerosols.