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Application of MERIS data to the identification and tracking of Harmful Algal Blooms along the West Coast of North America

David Foley(1)

(1) NOAA CoastWatch, 1352 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, United States

Abstract

The environmental data providers who support resource managers along the West coast of North America place a high priority on the development of remote sensing methods to identify and track harmful algal blooms (HABs). HABs in this region are caused by a variety of plankton (e.g., Alexandrium spp. and Pseudonitzchia australis) and toxins (e.g., saxitoxin and demoic acid), with distinct regional differences in physical, chemical, and ecological forcing mechanisms. While satellite-based measurements of water-leaving radiances, and products derived thereof, cannot be effectively used to distinguish between these phytoplankton, they can be effective in the identification and tracking of such, when integrated into a suite of measurements that include in situ samples. The chlorophyll trend product, which looks for sudden temporal changes in the distribution of chlorophyll a or fluorescence line height derived from MERIS, is an example of a simple product aimed at detecting the onset of blooms and assisting with adaptive sampling efforts. Efforts are also underway to take advantage of the full resolution MERIS data, which enables us to image bays and inland waterways. Comparisons with comparable products derived from MODIS, SeaWiFS, and OCM are also included in the analysis.

 

Workshop presentation

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry