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An algorithm for the retrieval of suspended sediment concentrations in the Irish Sea from SeaWiFS ocean colour satellite imagery

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A study was conducted in the Irish Sea with the aim of deriving an algorithm for the retrieval of suspended sediment concentrations from ocean colour imagery obtained from the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS). In situ observations of the diffuse attenuation coefficient, Kd , and irradiance reflectance, R, were obtained at wavelengths coincident with the SeaWiFS visible wavebands using a Profiling Reflectance Radiometer (PRR600, Biospherical Instruments Inc., San Diego). Results showed that surface reflectance at 665 nm (R665 ), rather than variations in the intrinsic colour of the ocean (using colour ratios), was the most widely applicable method of obtaining suspended sediment concentrations from ocean colour imagery in this region. The derived algorithm enabled the estimation of mineral suspended sediment (MSS) concentrations from ocean colour in the Irish Sea, accurate to within 1 mg l−1 (see equation below). Furthermore, the application of this algorithm to a SeaWiFS image of the Irish Sea accurately reproduced known regions of high turbidity with realistic MSS concentrations.

MSS=0.0441R 2 665 + 1.1392R 665 + 1.7459

(R 2=0.9105, n=124, RMS error=0.907)

Specific absorption and scattering coefficients were derived for all optically active in-water constituents, namely yellow substance (YS), mineral suspended sediments (MSS) and phytoplankton pigments (C). An optical model based on the empirically derived absorption and scattering coefficients reproduced the observed relationship between MSS and R 665. Model results highlighted the relative insensitivity of reflectance at 665 nm to variations in the concentrations of other in-water constituents, suggesting that the algorithm may be applicable to the Irish Sea throughout the year.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Ocean Sciences University of Wales Bangor Menai Bridge Anglesey LL59 5EY, Wales UK

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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