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Pan, XJ, Mannino, A, Russ, ME, Hooker, SB (2008). Remote sensing of the absorption coefficients and chlorophyll a concentration in the United States southern Middle Atlantic Bight from SeaWiFS and MODIS-Aqua. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS, 113(C11), C11022.

At present, satellite remote sensing of coastal water quality and constituent concentration is subject to large errors as compared to the capability of satellite sensors in oceanic waters. In this study, field measurements collected on a series of cruises within United States southern Middle Atlantic Bight (SMAB) were applied to improve retrievals of satellite ocean color products from the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS-Aqua) in order to examine the factors that regulate the bio-optical properties within the continental shelf waters of the SMAB. The first objective was to develop improvements in satellite retrievals of absorption coefficients of phytoplankton (a(ph)), colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) (a(g)), nonpigmented particles (ad), nonpigmented particles plus CDOM (a(dg)), and chlorophyll a concentration ([Chl_a]). Several algorithms were compared to derive constituent absorption coefficients from remote sensing reflectance (R-rs) ratios. The validation match-ups showed that the mean absolute percent differences were typically <35%, although higher errors were found for ad retrievals. Seasonal and spatial variability of satellite-derived absorption coefficients and [Chl_a] was apparent and consistent with field data. CDOM is a major contributor to the bio-optical properties of the SMAB, accounting for 35-70% of total light absorption by particles plus CDOM at 443 nm, as compared to 30-45% for phytoplankton and 0-20% for nonpigmented particles. The overestimation of [Chl_a] from the operational satellite algorithms may be attributed to the strong CDOM absorption in this region. River discharge is important in controlling the bio-optical environment but cannot explain all of the regional and seasonal variability of biogeochemical constituents in the SMAB.



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