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Evaluation of Satellite Retrievals of Chlorophyll-a in the Arabian Gulf

Environmental Science Center (ESC), Qatar University (QU), P.O. Box 2317, Doha, Qatar
Department of Biological and Environmental Science, Qatar University (QU), P.O. Box 2317, Doha, Qatar
Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
National Centre for Earth Observation, PML, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Xiaofeng Li and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(3), 301;
Received: 12 December 2016 / Revised: 18 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 22 March 2017
PDF [4877 KB, uploaded 22 March 2017]


The Arabian Gulf is a highly turbid, shallow sedimentary basin whose coastal areas have been classified as optically complex Case II waters (where ocean colour sensors have been proved to be unreliable). Yet, there is no such study assessing the performance and quality of satellite ocean-colour datasets in relation to ground truth data in the Gulf. Here, using a unique set of in situ Chlorophyll-a measurements (Chl-a; an index of phytoplankton biomass), collected from 24 locations in four transects in the central Gulf over six recent research cruises (2015–2016), we evaluated the performance of VIIRS and other merged satellite datasets, for the first time in the region. A highly significant relationship was found (r = 0.795, p < 0.001), though a clear overestimation in satellite-derived Chl-a concentrations is evident. Regardless of this constant overestimation, the remotely sensed Chl-a observations illustrated adequately the seasonal cycles. Due to the optically complex environment, the first optical depth was calculated to be on average 6–10 m depth, and thus the satellite signal is not capturing the deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM at ~25 m). Overall, the ocean colour sensors’ performance was comparable to other Case II waters in other regions, supporting the use of satellite ocean colour in the Gulf. Yet, the development of a regional-tuned algorithm is needed to account for the unique environmental conditions of the Gulf, and ultimately provide a better estimation of surface Chl-a in the region. View Full-Text
Keywords: Arabian Gulf; phytoplankton; Chlorophyll-a; ocean colour; remote sensing; OC-CCI Arabian Gulf; phytoplankton; Chlorophyll-a; ocean colour; remote sensing; OC-CCI

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Al-Naimi, N.; Raitsos, D.E.; Ben-Hamadou, R.; Soliman, Y. Evaluation of Satellite Retrievals of Chlorophyll-a in the Arabian Gulf. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 301.

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