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Evaluation of RapidEye data for mapping algal blooms in inland waters

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The high spatial resolution multispectral imaging sensor onboard RapidEye (RE) has a red-edge band centred at 710 nm, which can be used to produce a product equivalent to the Maximum Chlorophyll Index (MCI) that was developed to detect algal blooms with Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) data. The RapidEye system, with five satellites, offers a greater repeat frequency than other high-resolution satellites. In this study, we compared RapidEye and MERIS derived MCI products for the Harris Chain of Lakes in central Florida, USA, to determine if RapidEye can produce an equivalent product similar to MERIS. Data from two RapidEye satellites (RapidEye-2 and RapidEye-5) were used. Band-by-band matchups used RapidEye Top of the Atmosphere (TOA) reflectance and MERIS ρs (reflectance corrected only for Raleigh scattering and molecular absorption). The RapidEye TOA reflectance data differed from MERIS, but when the bands were calibrated to the MERIS, the MCI products matched between the two RapidEye satellites and the MERIS MCI. Estimated chlorophyll-a concentrations using a relationship established for Lake Erie matched in situ chlorophyll-a concentrations with a median error of 1.09 mg m−3. The results indicate that RapidEye is useful for this purpose, which also suggests that other high-resolution satellites with similar red-edge bands may also provide MCI-type products that would allow estimation of chlorophyll-a. RapidEye provides a context for applying future constellation of small satellites for monitoring water quality issues. Lake water quality managers and environmental agencies could effectively use such high-resolution products to assess and manage algal bloom events.
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Keywords: Rapid Eye; algal blooms; chlorophyll-a; satellite inter-comparison

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Consolidated Safety Services, Inc, . Fairfax, VA, USA 2: National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, Silver Spring, MD, USA

Publication date: April 3, 2019

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