Satellite remote sensing is a highly useful tool for monitoring chlorophyll-a
) in water bodies. Remote sensing algorithms based on near-infrared-red (NIR-red) wavelengths have demonstrated great potential for retrieving Chl-a
in inland waters. This study tested the performance of a recently developed NIR-red based algorithm, SAMO-LUT (Semi-Analytical Model Optimizing and Look-Up Tables), using an extensive dataset collected from five Asian lakes. Results demonstrated that Chl-a
retrieved by the SAMO-LUT algorithm was strongly correlated with measured Chl-a
= 0.94), and the root-mean-square error (RMSE) and normalized root-mean-square error (NRMS) were 8.9 mg∙m−3
and 72.6%, respectively. However, the SAMO-LUT algorithm yielded large errors for sites where Chl-a
was less than 10 mg∙m−3
(RMSE = 1.8 mg∙m−3
and NRMS = 217.9%). This was because differences in water-leaving radiances at the NIR-red wavelengths (i.e.
, 665 nm, 705 nm and 754 nm) used in the SAMO-LUT were too small due to low concentrations of water constituents. Using a blue-green algorithm (OC4E) instead of the SAMO-LUT for the waters with low constituent concentrations would have reduced the RMSE and NRMS to 1.0 mg∙m−3
and 16.0%, respectively. This indicates (1) the NIR-red algorithm does not work well when water constituent concentrations are relatively low; (2) different algorithms should be used in light of water constituent concentration; and thus (3) it is necessary to develop a classification method for selecting the appropriate algorithm.