Chlorophyll Concentration Estimates for Coastal Waters using Pixel-Based Atmospheric Correction of Landsat Images

Friday, 19 December 2014
Eric Kouba and Hongjie Xie, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, United States
Ocean color analysis is more challenging for coastal regions than the global ocean due the effects of optical brightness, shallow and turbid water, higher phytoplankton growth rates, and the complex geometry of coastal bays and estuaries. Also, one of the key atmospheric correction assumptions (zero water leaving radiance in the near infrared) is not valid for these complex conditions. This makes it difficult to estimate the spectral radiance noise caused by atmospheric aerosols, which can vary rapidly with time and space.

This project evaluated using Landsat-7 ETM+ observations over a set of coastal bays, and allowing atmospheric correction calculations to vary with time and location as much as practical. Precise satellite orbit vector data was combined with operational weather and climate data to create interpolated arrays of atmospheric profiles which varied with time and location, allowing separate calculation of the Rayleigh and aerosol radiance corrections for all pixels. The resulting normalized water-leaving radiance values were compared with chlorophyll fluorescence measurements made at five in-situ stations inside a set of Texas coastal bays: the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Curve-fitting analysis showed it was possible to estimate chlorophyll surface area concentrations by using ETM+ water-leaving radiance values and a third-order polynomial equation. Two pairs of ETM+ bands were identified as inputs (Bands 1 and 3, and the Log10 values of Bands 3 and 4), both achieving R2 of 0.69. Additional research efforts were recommended to obtain additional data, identify better curve fitting equations, and potentially extend the radiative transfer model into the water column.