Determining the dominant optically active substances in water bodies via classification can improve the accuracy of bio-optical and water quality parameters estimated by remote sensing. This study provides four robust centroid sets from in situ
remote sensing reflectance (Rrs
(λ)) data presenting typical optical types obtained by plugging different similarity measures into fuzzy c-means (FCM) clustering. Four typical types of waters were studied: (1) highly mixed eutrophic waters, with the proportion of absorption of colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), phytoplankton, and non-living particulate matter at approximately 20%, 20%, and 60% respectively; (2) CDOM-dominated relatively clear waters, with approximately 45% by proportion of CDOM absorption; (3) nonliving solids-dominated waters, with approximately 88% by proportion of absorption of nonliving particulate matter; and (4) cyanobacteria-composed scum. We also simulated spectra from seven ocean color satellite sensors to assess their classification ability. POLarization and Directionality of the Earth's Reflectances (POLDER), Sentinel-2A, and MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) were found to perform better than the rest. Further, a classification tree for MERIS, in which the characteristics of Rrs
(620), and Rrs
(761) are integrated, is also proposed in this paper. The overall accuracy and Kappa coefficient of the proposed classification tree are 76.2% and 0.632, respectively.
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