Empirical modeling of chlorophyll a from MODIS satellite imagery for trophic status monitoring of Lake Victoria in East Africa

Title:Empirical modeling of chlorophyll a from MODIS satellite imagery for trophic status monitoring of Lake Victoria in East Africa
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
Authors:Anthony Gidudu,  Letaru, L., Kulabako, R.N
Journal International Journal of Remote Sensing 
Abstract:We detail our attempts at empirical modeling of MODIS derived Chlorophyll a (Chl a) distribution on Lake Victoria in East Africa and consequently its trophic status. This was motivated by the need for Lake Victoria specific algorithms, as the current satellite based standard algorithms overestimate derived Chl a. In situ Chl a data was hence collected in three field campaigns in November 2014, March 2015 and July 2015. In situ reflectances were collected during the July campaign only. We first developed models from in situ reflectances and in situ Chl a, which when applied to MODIS bands performed dismally (R2 = 0.03). We then proceeded to derive empirical models by directly comparing MODIS bands with in situ Chl a based on data collected in November 2014 and July 2015. The March 2015 dataset couldn’t be used due to cloud cover hence no matchups could be obtained. The best model derived (R2 = 0.88) was based on the ratio 488 nm/645 nm, and was then used to determine the trophic status of Lake Victoria using Carlson’s Chl a Trophic State Index (TSI). The results show that large areas of the lake are mesotrophic with eutrophic displays closer to the shores. The modeled TSI was then validated against in situ TSI derived from the March dataset and posted an 80% matchup. One of the main challenges, however is the prevalence of cloud cover, which hinders synoptic mapping of the lake. That notwithstanding, the study demonstrates the potential of earth observation in providing accurate TSI information for improved management of Lake Victoria.