New algorithms for MODIS sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence and a comparison with present data products

Yannick Huot, Catherine A Brown, John J Cullen

Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 3:108-130 (2005) | DOI: 10.4319/lom.2005.3.108

ABSTRACT: We discuss important sources of variability in sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence and examine difficulties in deriving fluorescence data products from satellite imagery, with a focus on the MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor. Our results indicate that there are limitations in the present MODIS algorithms that could lead to biases in the interpretation of the fluorescence products across gradients of chlorophyll concentration. To avoid some of these limitations, we suggest replacing the calculation of absorbed radiation by phytoplankton (ARP) over a finite depth with integration over the entire water column, and including a term accounting for cellular reabsorption of fluoresced light. These suggestions are incorporated into two new algorithms, based on established bio-optical models for case 1 waters (most open ocean waters), to retrieve chlorophyll concentration and the quantum yield of fluorescence. We compare our results to the results using MODIS algorithms for two regions: one located off the coast of Central America, including the Costa Rica Dome, and the other in the Arabian Sea. The new algorithms provide a similar field for the quantum yield of fluorescence in the first region, while they provide a different and more uniform field in the second region. We suggest that this discrepancy originates from the use of the water leaving radiance at 412 nm in the MODIS standard algorithm, which is not used in our algorithm and can be problematic under certain environmental conditions (e.g., absorbing aerosols or highly scattering waters).