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Satellite-based detection and monitoring of phytoplankton blooms along the Oregon Coast

TitleSatellite-based detection and monitoring of phytoplankton blooms along the Oregon Coast
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMcKibben SM, Strutton PG, Foley DG, Peterson TD, White AE
Journal TitleJournal of Geophysical Research

We have applied a normalized difference algorithm to 8 day composite chlorophyll-a (CHL) and fluorescence line height (FLH) imagery obtained from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard the Aqua spacecraft in order to detect and monitor phytoplankton blooms in the Oregon coastal region. The resulting bloom products, termed CHLrel and FLHrel, respectively, describe the onset and advection of algal blooms as a function of the percent relative change observed in standard 8 day CHL or FLH imagery over time. Bloom product performance was optimized to consider local time scales of biological variability (days) and cloud cover. Comparison of CHLrel and FLHrel retrievals to in situ mooring data collected off the central Oregon coast from summer 2009 through winter 2010 shows that the products are a robust means to detect bloom events during the summer upwelling season. Evaluation of winter performance was inconclusive due to persistent cloud cover and limited in situ chl-a records. Pairing the products with coincident in situ physical proxies provides a tool to elucidate the conditions that induce bloom onset and identify the physical mechanisms that affect bloom advection, persistence, and decay. These products offer an excellent foundation for remote bloom detection and monitoring in this region, and the methods developed herein are applicable to any region with sufficient CHL and FLH coverage.