Chlorophyll concentration estimates for coastal water using pixel-based atmospheric correction of Landsat images
Ocean color analysis is more challenging for coastal regions than the global ocean due the effects of optical brightness, shallow and turbid water, higher phytoplankton growth rates, and the complex geometry of coastal bays and estuaries. Also, one of the key atmospheric correction assumptions (zero water leaving radiance in the near infrared) is not valid for these complex conditions. This makes it difficult to estimate the spectral radiance noise caused by atmospheric aerosols, which can vary rapidly with time and space. This study conducts pixel-based atmospheric correction of Landsat-7 ETM+ images over the Texas coast. Precise satellite orbit data, operational weather data, and climate data are combined to create interpolated arrays of viewing angles and atmospheric profiles. These arrays vary with time and location, allowing calculation of the Rayleigh and aerosol radiances separately for all pixels. The resulting normalized water-leaving radiances are then compared with in situ chlorophyll fluorescence measurements from five locations inside a set of Texas coastal bays: the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve. Curve-fitting analysis shows it is possible to estimate chlorophyll-a surface area concentrations by using ETM+ water-leaving radiance values and a third-order polynomial equation. Two pairs of ETM+ bands are identified as inputs (Bands 1 and 3, and the Log10 values of Bands 3 and 4), both achieving good performance (R 2 of 0.69). Further research efforts are recommended to obtain additional data, identify better curve fitting equations, and potentially extend the radiative transfer model into the water column.