Red and near-infrared line-height algorithms such as the maximum chlorophyll index (MCI) are often considered optimal for remote sensing of chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) in turbid eutrophic waters, under the assumption of minimal influence from mineral sediments. This study investigated the impact of mineral turbidity on line-height algorithms using MCI as a primary example. Inherent optical properties from two turbid eutrophic lakes were used to simulate reflectance spectra. The simulated results: (1) confirmed a non-linear relationship between Chl-a and MCI; (2) suggested optimal use of the MCI at Chl-a < ~100 mg/m3
and saturation of the index at Chl-a ~300 mg/m3
; (3) suggested significant variability in the MCI:Chl-a relationship due to mineral scattering, resulting in an RMSE in predicted Chl-a of ~23 mg/m3
; and (4) revealed elevated Chl a retrievals and potential false positive algal bloom reports for sediment concentrations > 20 g/m3
. A novel approach combining both MCI and its baseline slope, MCIslope reduced the RMSE to ~5 mg/m3
. A quality flag based on MCIslope was proposed to mask erroneously high Chl-a retrievals and reduce the risk of false positive bloom reports in highly turbid waters. Observations suggest the approach may be valuable for all line-height-based Chl-a algorithms.
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