Application of an Ocean Color Algal Taxa Detection Model to Red Tides in the Southern Benguela
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A forward reflectance model is used to demonstrate the sensitivity of hyperspectral ocean color observations to phytoplankton biomass, species composition and cell size. An inverse ocean color model is developed which has explicit terms for 5 taxonomic groups of phytoplankton. The model expresses the contributions of each group in terms of the magnitude of the absorption coefficient, which is proportional to biomass. The model is applied to a time series of reflectance data from an expansive red tide off the west coast of South Africa. The results compare favorably with those derived from microscopic cell counts. This demonstrates the utility of in situ ocean color detection of the composition and concentration of potentially harmful algae.
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