Optimal spatiotemporal scales to aggregate satellite ocean color data for nearshore reefs and tropical coastal waters: two case studies

Geiger, Erick, Heron, Scott F., Hernández, William J., Caldwell, Jamie M., Falinski, Kim, Callender, Tova, Greene, Austin L., Liu, Gang, De La Cour, Jacqueline L., Armstrong, Roy A., Donahue, Megan J., and Eakin, C. Mark (2021) Optimal spatiotemporal scales to aggregate satellite ocean color data for nearshore reefs and tropical coastal waters: two case studies. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8. 643302.

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Abstract

Remotely sensed ocean color data are useful for monitoring water quality in coastal environments. However, moderate resolution (hundreds of meters to a few kilometers) satellite data are underutilized in these environments because of frequent data gaps from cloud cover and algorithm complexities in shallow waters. Aggregating satellite data over larger space and time scales is a common method to reduce data gaps and generate a more complete time series, but potentially smooths out the small-scale, episodic changes in water quality that can have ecological influences. By comparing aggregated satellite estimates of Kd(490) with related in-water measurements, we can understand the extent to which aggregation methods are viable for filling gaps while being able to characterize ecologically relevant water quality conditions. In this study, we tested a combination of six spatial and seven temporal scales for aggregating data from the VIIRS instrument at several coral reef locations in Maui, Hawai‘i and Puerto Rico and compared these with in situ measurements of Kd(490) and turbidity. In Maui, we found that the median value of a 5-pixels, 7-days spatiotemporal cube of satellite data yielded a robust result capable of differentiating observations across small space and time domains and had the best correlation among spatiotemporal cubes when compared with in situ Kd(490) across 11 nearshore sites (R2 = 0.84). We also found long-term averages (i.e., chronic condition) of VIIRS data using this aggregation method follow a similar spatial pattern to onshore turbidity measurements along the Maui coast over a three-year period. In Puerto Rico, we found that the median of a 13-pixels, 13-days spatiotemporal cube of satellite data yielded the best overall result with an R2 = 0.54 when compared with in situ Kd(490) measurements for one nearshore site with measurement dates spanning 2016–2019. As spatiotemporal cubes of different dimensions yielded optimum results in the two locations, we recommend local analysis of spatial and temporal optima when applying this technique elsewhere. The use of satellite data and in situ water quality measurements provide complementary information, each enhancing understanding of the issues affecting coastal ecosystems, including coral reefs, and the success of management efforts.

Item ID: 70457
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2296-7745
Keywords: coastal, coral reef, diffuse attenuation coefficient, in situ, K (490) d, ocean color, turbidity, water quality
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2021 Geiger, Heron, Hernández, Caldwell, Falinski, Callender, Greene, Liu, De La Cour, Armstrong, Donahue and Eakin. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2022 05:22
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