Comparison of chlorophyll in the Red Sea derived from MODIS-Aqua and in vivo fluorescence

Robert J W Brewin, Dionysios E. Raitsos, Yaswant Pradhan, Ibrahim Hoteit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


The Red Sea is a unique marine environment but relatively unexplored. The only available long-term biological dataset at large spatial and temporal scales is remotely-sensed chlorophyll observations (an index of phytoplankton biomass) derived using satellite measurements of ocean colour. Yet such observations have rarely been compared with in situ data in the Red Sea. In this paper, satellite chlorophyll estimates in the Red Sea from the MODIS instrument onboard the Aqua satellite are compared with three recent cruises of in vivo fluorometric chlorophyll measurements taken in October 2008, March 2010 and September to October 2011. The performance of the standard NASA chlorophyll algorithm, and that of a new band-difference algorithm, is found to be comparable with other oligotrophic regions in the global ocean, supporting the use of satellite ocean colour in the Red Sea. However, given the unique environmental conditions of the study area, regional algorithms are likely to fare better and this is demonstrated through a simple adjustment to the band-difference algorithm. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-224
Number of pages7
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank the captains and the crews of the RN "Aegaeo" of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), and of the RN "Oceanus" from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), who made the data collection possible. We thank in particular Leah Trafford and Amy Bower for their assistance on the cruise data used in this study. We thank Shubha Sathyendranath and Chuanmin Hu for suggestions on an earlier version of the manuscript and two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments. This research was supported by the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UK National Centre for Earth Observation, and is a contribution to the Ocean Colour Climate Change Initiative of the European Space Agency (ESA).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Geology


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