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Detection of algal blooms in European waters based on satellite chlorophyll data from MERIS and MODIS

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A technique for algal-bloom detection in European waters is described, based on standard chlorophyll a concentration (Chl) data from two ocean-colour sensors, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS). Comparison of the two data sources shows good agreement in case 1 waters, whereas the difference is significant in coastal waters including turbid areas. A relationship between the water-leaving reflectance at 667 nm and Chl for case 1 waters was used to eliminate pixels where Chl retrieval is contaminated by backscatter from inorganic suspended matter. Daily Chl data are compared to a predefined threshold map to determine whether an algal bloom has occurred. In this study, a threshold map was defined as the 90th percentile of previous years' data to take account of regional differences in typical Chl levels, with separate maps for each sensor to take account of sensor-specific bias. The algal-bloom detection processing chain is described, and example results are presented.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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