Improving inland water quality monitoring through remote sensing techniques

Igor Ogashawara, Max J. Moreno-Madriñán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Chlorophyll-A (chl-A) levels in lake water could indicate the presence of cyanobacteria, which can be a concern for public health due to their potential to produce toxins. Monitoring of chl-A has been an important practice in aquatic systems, especially in those used for human services, as they imply an increased risk of exposure. Remote sensing technology is being increasingly used to monitor water quality, although its application in cases of small urban lakes is limited by the spatial resolution of the sensors. Lake Thonotosassa, FL, USA, a 3.45-km2 suburban lake with several uses for the local population, is being monitored monthly by traditional methods. We developed an empirical bio-optical algorithm for the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) daily surface reflectance product to monitor daily chl-A. We applied the same algorithm to four different periods of the year using 11 years of water quality data. Normalized root mean squared errors were lower during the first (0.27) and second (0.34) trimester and increased during the third (0.54) and fourth (1.85) trimesters of the year. Overall results showed that Earth-observing technologies and, particularly, MODIS products can also be applied to improve environmental health management through water quality monitoring of small lakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1234-1255
Number of pages22
JournalISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2014


  • Chlorophyll-A
  • Cyanobacteria biomass
  • Empirical algorithms
  • Remote sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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