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Comparative Analysis of Chlorophyll-a Distribution from SeaWiFS, MODIS-Aqua, MODIS-Terra and MERIS in the Arabian Sea

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The variability of Chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) distribution derived from MODIS (on Aqua and Terra platforms) and MERIS sensors have been compared with SeaWiFS data in the Arabian Sea. MODIS Aqua has overestimated the SeaWiFS Chl-a within 25–32% in the coastal turbid (eutrophic) waters and underestimated in open ocean waters with error within 20%. However, there is no significant bias (−0.1 on log-scale) observed as the slope is well within 0.97-1.1 (log transformed). MODIS-Terra has underestimated the Chl-a concentration in open ocean waters by about 29–31%, which is higher than MODIS-Aqua. MODIS-Terra is observed to be more accurate than MODIS-Aqua in the coastal waters. MERIS is overestimating the SeaWiFS Chl-a with log RMS error of ∼0.15 and log bias of ∼0.13–0.2. The differences in the Chl-a estimates between each sensor are possibly due to differences in the sensor design, bio-optical algorithms and also due to the time differences between the satellites over passes. We have examined that the MERIS is performing similar to SeaWiFS and the MODIS-Aqua (Terra) data are reliable in open ocean (coastal) waters. However, Chl-a retrieval algorithms need to be improved especially for coastal turbid waters to continue with SeaWiFS data for long-term studies.
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Keywords: Arabian Sea; Inter-sensor comparison; MERIS; MODIS; SeaWiFS; chlorophyll-a

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Calibration and Validation Division, Marine, Geo and Planetary Sciences Group, Space Applications Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad, India

Publication date: January 2, 2015

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