Assessing the Accuracy of Remotely Sensed Sea Surface Temperature and Chlorophyll-a Concentrations in the South Pacific Ocean

Authors: Olivia Cronin-Golomb*, Boston University, Justin Freck, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Topics: Remote Sensing, Coastal and Marine, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Remote Sensing, Chlorophyll-a, Sea Surface Temperature, South Pacific Ocean, GIS
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


Variations in oceanographic biological and physical processes can be detected by observing changes in sea surface temperature (SST) and chlorophyll-a (chl-a) concentrations. This paper describes an assessment of the reliability of three different MODIS/Aqua satellite-based, remote sensing products that examine SST and chl-a values within a transect of the South Pacific Ocean stretching from Christchurch, New Zealand to Pape’ete, Tahiti. The reliability of the algorithms was further analyzed and mapped in terms of the general locales along the transect, including New Zealand (NZ), the Subtropical Convergence Zone (STCZ), and the Southern Pacific Subtropical Gyre (SPSG). The algorithms were verified using in situ measurements from surface samples taken in conjunction with SEA Semester’s Oceans and Climate program. The algorithms used were NASA’s Ocean Color Longwave SST product, and the OC3/OC4 (OCx) and Garver–Siegel–Maritorena (GSM) chlorophyll-a products. We found that the SST algorithm showed strong agreement with the in situ values across all of the locales. The two chl-a algorithms showed more variability than the SST algorithm, with the most variability near the coastal zones of New Zealand and the least variability in the SPSG. The GSM algorithm performed slightly better than the OCx algorithm. These results indicate that these products can serve to provide researchers and scientists with reliable SST and surface chl-a data for this transect of the South Pacific Ocean. This is important because this is a region in which consistent in situ sea surface data are not as readily available as in other, more well-travelled ocean regions.

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