Home > Explore Data & Reports > Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasting Branch Ocean Color Satellite Imagery Processing Guidelines


Wynne, T., A. Meredith, T. Briggs, W. Litaker, and R. Stumpf. 2018. Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasting Branch Ocean Color Satellite Imagery Processing Guidelines. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 252. Silver Spring, MD. 48 pp. doi:10.25923/twc0-f025

Data/Report Type:

NOAA Technical Memorandum


The Harmful Algal Bloom - Forecasting Branch (HAB-FB) is a research group within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) tasked with forecasting and monitoring HABs. One of the more effective ways to do so is through satellite based monitoring, which provides a synoptic view at high temporal resolution. The HAB-FB has established a routine and automated processing capability for satellite-derived products pertaining to the color of water. Water color can be used as proxy for various geophysical parameters, such as chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and water depth. All of our products are generated from mapped reflectance products, which will be referred to in this document as "level 3 products (see Section 3 for more details regarding how level 1-4 products are defined). Most of the level 3 products are derived from level 1B calibrated radiance data obtained from NASA or the European Space Agency (ESA) through our SeaDAS Automated Processing System (SAPS), based on NASA’s SeaDAS software package (Baith et al., 2001). Some of our level 3 products originate from NASA or ESA level 2 unmapped reflectance and some standard NASA or ESA ocean color products. This technical memo describes (1) the most used level 3 products produced by the HAB-FB group, (2) the algorithms employed, and (3) the various setting, parameters, flags, etc. used by SAPS to generate each product. This suite of products is used for a variety of applications. These include assessing cyanobacterial blooms in Lake Erie and other water bodies in collaboration with the U.S. EPA and production of NOAA’s Lake Erie HAB Operational Forecast System. Other products support interests by numerous states, including Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and California in detecting blooms, and products as well as supporting NOAA’s Office of Protected Species, and some of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Science Centers.

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