Evaluation of SeaWiFS chlorophyll algorithms in the southwestern atlantic and southern oceans

Garcia, Carlos Alberto Eiras; Garcia, Virginia Maria Tavano; McClain, Charles Ray


Bio-optical measurements of spectral upwelling radiance and surface chlorophyll-a concentration have been conducted during 15 cruises between 1995 and 2004. The bio-optical data were divided into two sub-sets: the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean (SwAO), comprising a variety of biogeochemical provinces, from the oligotrophic waters in the South Atlantic gyre to the coastal waters influenced by La Plata River and Patos Lagoon discharge, and the Southern Ocean (SO) data set, comprising sampling stations south of the mean position of the Polar Front, with most stations being located in the vicinity of the Antarctic Peninsula. We derived regional chlorophyll algorithms for both regions and comparisons were made with the NASA’s OC4v4 (operational algorithm) and OC2v4. For the Southwestern Atlantic region, the NASA OC4v4 algorithm presented a reasonable performance (r 2=0.87, rmse-L=0.475, N=136) as compared to the revised algorithm for SwAO data (r 2=0.89, rmse-L=0.426, N=136). A few stations under strong river plume influence were not considered in the analyses. These were detected by a higher reflectance at 670 nm, at low in situ chlorophyll concentration (b2 mg mÀ3). These results show that empirical algorithms applied to in-situ radiance data have a limited ability to extract accurate chlorophyll estimates below a 30% uncertainty level. For Southern Ocean stations, a 2-band linear-type model was generated (r 2=0.64, rmse-L=0.347, N=77), which significantly improved the bias (6.4%) as compared to NASA’s OC4v4 algorithm (bias=À21.7%). An evaluation of some published high-latitude algorithms on our data set has shown a better performance by taxon-specific models, even from distant regions. A validation experiment of the normalized spectral water-leaving radiances and chlorophyll-a SeaWiFS products was also conducted using the FURG-SwAO/SO data set, through a match-up exercise. Despite the relatively low number of pairs of radiometric measurements, SeaWiFS estimations compare well with in situ data (0.77br 2b0.98, N=21), although the satellite estimate show a marked bias (À35.6%) in the blue band nLw (412). Regarding the chlorophyll-a concentration, an overall agreement was observed (r 2=0.77, rmse-L=0.66, N=28), with a mean absolute percentage difference of 66%, which is above the goal generally accepted of 35% for satellite ocean color chlorophyll estimates. For the studied Southern Ocean area (mainly the Bransfield Strait), NASA’s OC4v4 algorithm systematically underestimates chlorophyll above 0.2 mg mÀ3, as previously demonstrated by other researchers.

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