Natural Resources, School of


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This article was published in October 2009 by Environmental Research Letters. Citation: Environ. Res. Lett. 4 (2009) 045005 (8pp) doi:10.1088/1748-9326/4/4/045005 Copyright © 2009 IOP Publishing Ltd. Used by permission. Online at


We present and discuss here the results of our work using MODIS (moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer) and MERIS (medium resolution imaging spectrometer) satellite data to estimate the concentration of chlorophyll-a (chl-a) in reservoirs of the Dnieper River and the Sea of Azov, which are typical case II waters, i.e., turbid and productive. Our objective was to test the potential of satellite remote sensing as a tool for near-real-time monitoring of chl-a distribution in these water bodies. We tested the performance of a recently developed three-band model, and its special case, a two-band model, which use the reflectance at red and near-infrared wavelengths for the retrieval of chl-a concentration. The higher spatial resolution and the availability of a spectral band at around 708 nm with the MERIS data offered great promise for these models. We compared results from several different atmospheric correction procedures available for MODIS and MERIS data. No one particular procedure was consistently and systematically better than the rest. Nevertheless, even in the absence of a perfect atmospheric correction procedure, both the three-band and the two-band models showed promising results when compared with in situ chl-a measurements. The challenges and limitations involved in satellite remote monitoring of the chl-a distribution in turbid productive waters are discussed.