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This study evaluated the ability to improve Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) chl-a retrieval from optically shallow coastal waters by applying algorithms specific to the pixels’ benthic class. The form of the Ocean Color (OC) algorithm was assumed for this study. The operational atmospheric correction producing Level 2 SeaWiFS data was retained since the focus of this study was on establishing the benefit from the alternative specification of the bio-optical algorithm. Benthic class was determined through satellite image-based classification methods. Accuracy of the chl-a algorithms evaluated was determined through comparison with coincident in situ measurements of chl-a. The regionally-tuned models that were allowed to vary by benthic class produced more accurate estimates of chl-a than the single, unified regionally-tuned model. Mean absolute percent difference was approximately 70% for the regionally-tuned, benthic class-specific algorithms. Evaluation of the residuals indicated the potential for further improvement to chl-a estimation through finer characterization of benthic environments. Atmospheric correction procedures specialized to coastal environments were recognized as areas for future improvement as these procedures would improve both classification and algorithm tuning.


Originally published in Sensors.

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