Multivariate Approach to Estimate Colour Producing Agents in Case 2 Waters Using First-derivative Spectrophotometer Data

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Geocarto International

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chlorophyll-a, remote sensing, Lake Erie, PCA




The complex composition and distribution of colour producing agents (CPAs) in turbid aquatic environments such as the Western Basin of Lake Erie (WBLE) presents a challenge to the application of remote sensing data for differentiating among in-water constituents and estimating their concentrations independently. In this study, multivariate procedures are applied to lab-based spectrophotometer data to estimate the concentration of chlorophyll-a and suspended matters in the WBLE. Principal Component Analysis of first-derivative transformed hyper-spectral data from the spectrophotometer extracted three significant spectral components for each cruise, explaining up to 88% of the spectral variability. Spectral matching using reference spectra indicated that two of the extracted patterns represent signatures of in-water constituents that govern the optical properties of the WBLE, namely, cyanobacteria and diatoms associated with green algae. The spectrophotometer data clearly revealed known spectral features associated with phytoplankton, such as the absorption minima near 550 and 700 nm, which can be attributed to the minimum of absorption and fluorescence of chlorophyll-a, respectively. The method also extracted the absorption peaks due to chlorophyll-a, near 670 nm, and due to phycocyanin, near 620 nm. Principal component regression of chlorophyll-a on the PC scores indicated that 63.4% of variation of chlorophyll-a in the WBLE can be explained by two components. Factors 2 and 3 explain 60% of the joint spatiotemporal variability of suspended matters in the WBLE. The results illustrate the potential of multivariate technique applied to remote sensing data in isolating the patterns that represent constituents in turbid Case 2 waters.