Evaluation of MODIS-Aqua Atmospheric Correction and Chlorophyll Products of Western North American Coastal Waters Based on 13 Years of Data




Carswell, Tyson
Costa, Maycira
Young, Erika
Komick, Nicholas
Gower, Jim
Sweeting, Ruston

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Remote Sensing


There is an increasing need for satellite-derived accurate chlorophyll-a concentration (chla) products to improve fisheries management in coastal regions. However, the methods used to derive these products have to be evaluated, so the associated uncertainties are known. The performance of three atmospheric correction methods, the near infrared (NIR), the shortwave infrared (SWIR), and the Management Unit of the North Seas Mathematical Models with an additional modification (MUMM + SWIR), and derived chla products based on the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer AQUA (MODIS) images acquired from 2002 to 2014 over the west coast of Canada and the United States were evaluated. The atmospherically corrected products and above-water reflectance were compared with in situ AERONET (N ~ 650) and above-water reflectance (N ~ 34) data, and the Ocean Color 3 MODIS (OC3M)-derived chla were compared with in situ chla measurements (N ~ 82). The statistical analysis indicated that the MUMM + SWIR method was the most appropriate for this region, with relatively good retrievals of the atmospheric products, improved retrieval of remote sensing reflectance with bias lower than 20% for the OC3M bands, and improved retrievals of chla (r = 0.83, slope = 0.89, logRMSE = 0.33 mg m−3 for ±1 h). The poorest chla retrievals were achieved with the SWIR and NIR methods. These results represent the most comprehensive satellite data analysis of MODIS retrievals for this region and provide a framework for the MUMM + SWIR method that can be further tested in other coastal regions of the world.



ocean colour, MODIS, coastal waters, chlorophyll-a, atmospheric correction, west coast of North America


Carswell, T.; Costa, M.; Young, E.; Komick, N.; Gower, J.; & Sweeting, R. (2017). Evaluation of MODIS-Aqua atmospheric correction and chlorophyll products of Western North American coastal waters based on 13 years of data. Remote Sensing, 9(10), 1063. DOI: 10.3390/rs9101063