Remote Sensing of Cyanobacterial and Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Okeechobee and Biscayne Bay, Florida

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Cyanobacterial and Harmful Algal Blooms (CyanoHABs) have become a major topic of concern for homeowners and environmental groups in Florida, with blooms occurring in both Lake Okeechobee and Biscayne Bay in prior years. While Biscayne Bay and Lake Okeechobee are distinct water bodies, with different manifestations of the blooms, in both environments CyanoHABs can contain toxins that are harmful to humans and animals, can lead to fish and wildlife kills, as well as disrupt ecosystems. Furthermore, recreational and economic use of the waters of Biscayne Bay and Lake Okeechobee are negatively impacted by these blooms. Monitoring and assessment of the CyanoHABs in both water bodies is a vital aspect of understanding the drivers and impacts of CyanoHAB growth in Florida. Spectral decomposition of satellite remote sensing images of Lake Erie has been shown to be effective at discriminating between in-water constituents, both those related to CyanoHABs, and those that are non-HAB forming. Here we show that the KSU spectral decomposition method is also successful in identifying in-water constituents in Florida waters using images from the Sentinel 3A- Ocean and Land Color Instrument, acquired on 16 July 2017 and 28 July 2018. We identify the CyanoHAB signal in Lake Okeechobee on both days, as well as the sediment and algal signal in Biscayne Bay.