Spectral subsurface irradiance reflectance—intrinsic water color—was derived from above-water radiance measurements using a hand-held spectroradiometer along a transect on Keweenaw Bay, Lake Superior. The reflectance spectra were typical of oligotrophic lacustrine waters. The reflectance peak wavelength shifted from 484 nm at stations farthest offshore to 540 nm near the head of the bay. This change coincided with a decrease in Secchi-disk depth from 16 to 8 m, and an increase in concentrations of chlorophyll a and total suspended matter from about 0.45 to 0.60 mg m–3 and from 0.3 to 0.5 g m–3, respectively. The concentration of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (gilvin), expressed as the absorption of filtrate at 440 nm, varied between 0.11 and 0.2 m–1. Like almost all inland waters, Keweenaw Bay should be classified as a Case 2 water due to the concentrations of gilvin and inanimate particles relative to plankton biomass. A model for chlorophyll-a estimation from spectral reflectance that adequately predicted concentrations in mesotrophic to highly eutrophic Case 2 waters elsewhere gave negative values when applied to the Keweenaw Bay transect. Evidently, there is a need of algorithm development for oligotrophic lacustrine waters. Estimates improved using a modified blue to green band ratio algorithm previously applied for remote sensing of oceanic waters. In optimization of semi-empirical algorithms for estimation of plankton biomass in Lake Superior, absorption by gilvin as well as by inanimate particles merits special consideration. [KEYWORDS: Chlorophyll ; Lake Superior ; remote sensing ; spectral reflectance ; water color]
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Great Lakes Research
Journal publication date2004

ID: 258018