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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / Variability in specific-absorption properties and their use in a semi-analytical ocean colour algorithm for MERIS in North Sea and Western English Channel Coastal Waters

Gavin Tilstone, Steef Peters, Hendrik van der Woerd, Marieke Eleveld, Kevin Ruddick, Wolfgang Schoenfeld, Hajo Krasemann, Victor Martinez-Vicente, David Blondeau-Patissier, Ruediger Roettgers, Kai Sorensen, Peter Jorgensen and Jamie Shutler (2012)

Variability in specific-absorption properties and their use in a semi-analytical ocean colour algorithm for MERIS in North Sea and Western English Channel Coastal Waters

REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 118:320-338.

Coastal areas of the North Sea are commercially important for fishing and tourism, and are subject to the increasingly adverse effects of harmful algal blooms, eutrophication and climate change. Monitoring phytoplankton in these areas using Ocean Colour Remote Sensing is hampered by the high spatial and temporal variations in absorption and scattering properties. In this paper we demonstrate a clustering method based on specific-absorption properties that gives accurate water quality products from the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS). A total of 468 measurements of Chlorophyll a (Chla), Total Suspended Material (TSM), specific- (sIOP) and inherent optical properties (IOP) were measured in the North Sea between April 1999 and September 2004. Chla varied from 0.2 to 35 mg m(-3). TSM from 0.2 to 75 g m(-3) and absorption properties of coloured dissolved organic material at 442 nm (a(CDOM)(442)) was 0.02 to 0.26 m(-1). The variation in absorption properties of phytoplankton (a(ph)) and non-algal particles (a(NAP)) were an order of magnitude greater than that for a(ph) normalized to Chla (a(ph)*) and a(NAP) normalized to TSM (a(NAP)*). Hierarchical cluster analysis on a(ph)*, a(NAP). and a(CDOM) reduced this large data set to three groups of high a(NAP)*-a(CDOM). low a(ph)* situated close to the coast, medium values further offshore and low a(NAP)* a(CDOM), high a(ph)* in open ocean and Dutch coastal waters. The median sIOP of each cluster were used to parameterize a semi-analytical algorithm to retrieve concentrations of Chla, TSM and a(CDOM)(442) from MERIS data. A further 60 measurements of normalized water leaving radiance (nL(w)), Chla, TSM, a(CDOM)(442) and a(NAP)(442) collected between 2003 and 2006 were used to assess the accuracy of the satellite products. The regionalized MERIS algorithm showed improved performance in Chla and a(CDOM)(442) estimates with relative percentage differences of 29 and 8\% compared to 34 and 134\% for standard MERIS Chla and a(dg)(442) products, and similar retrieval for TSM at concentrations 1 g(-3). Crown Copyright (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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