Estimation of chlorophyll-a concentration in case II waters using MODIS and MERIS data - Successes and challenges

W. J. Moses, A. A. Gitelson, S. Berdnikov, V. Povazhnyy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


We present and discuss here the results of our work using MODIS (moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer) and MERIS (medium resolution imaging spectrometer) satellite data to estimate the concentration of chlorophyll- a (chl-a) in reservoirs of the Dnieper River and the Sea of Azov, which are typical case II waters, i.e., turbid and productive. Our objective was to test the potential of satellite remote sensing as a tool for near-real-time monitoring of chl- a distribution in these water bodies. We tested the performance of a recently developed three-band model, and its special case, a two-band model, which use the reflectance at red and near-infrared wavelengths for the retrieval of chl- a concentration. The higher spatial resolution and the availability of a spectral band at around 708nm with the MERIS data offered great promise for these models. We compared results from several different atmospheric correction procedures available for MODIS and MERIS data. No one particular procedure was consistently and systematically better than the rest. Nevertheless, even in the absence of a perfect atmospheric correction procedure, both the three-band and the two-band models showed promising results when compared with insitu chl- a measurements. The challenges and limitations involved in satellite remote monitoring of the chl- a distribution in turbid productive waters are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045005
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Chlorophyll-α
  • Remote sensing
  • Turbid productive waters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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