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Proceedings Paper

Detection of surface algal blooms using the newly developed algorithm surface algal bloom index (SABI)
Author(s): Fahad Alawadi
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Paper Abstract

Quantifying ocean colour properties has evolved over the past two decades from being able to merely detect their biological activity to the ability to estimate chlorophyll concentration using optical satellite sensors like MODIS and MERIS. The production of chlorophyll spatial distribution maps is a good indicator of plankton biomass (primary production) and is useful for the tracing of oceanographic currents, jets and blooms, including harmful algal blooms (HABs). Depending on the type of HABs involved and the environmental conditions, if their concentration rises above a critical threshold, it can impact the flora and fauna of the aquatic habitat through the introduction of the so called "red tide" phenomenon. The estimation of chlorophyll concentration is derived from quantifying the spectral relationship between the blue and the green bands reflected from the water column. This spectral relationship is employed in the standard ocean colour chlorophyll-a (Chlor-a) product, but is incapable of detecting certain macro-algal species that float near to or at the water surface in the form of dense filaments or mats. The ability to accurately identify algal formations that sometimes appear as oil spill look-alikes in satellite imagery, contributes towards the reduction of false-positive incidents arising from oil spill monitoring operations. Such algal formations that occur in relatively high concentrations may experience, as in land vegetation, what is known as the "red-edge" effect. This phenomena occurs at the highest reflectance slope between the maximum absorption in the red due to the surrounding ocean water and the maximum reflectance in the infra-red due to the photosynthetic pigments present in the surface algae. A new algorithm termed the surface algal bloom index (SABI), has been proposed to delineate the spatial distributions of floating micro-algal species like for example cyanobacteria or exposed inter-tidal vegetation like seagrass. This algorithm was specifically modelled to adapt to the marine habitat through its inclusion of ocean-colour sensitive bands in a four-band ratio-based relationship. The algorithm has demonstrated high stability against various environmental conditions like aerosol and sun glint.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 October 2010
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 7825, Remote Sensing of the Ocean, Sea Ice, and Large Water Regions 2010, 782506 (18 October 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.862096
Show Author Affiliations
Fahad Alawadi, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7825:
Remote Sensing of the Ocean, Sea Ice, and Large Water Regions 2010
Charles R. Bostater; Stelios P. Mertikas; Xavier Neyt; Miguel Velez-Reyes, Editor(s)

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