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Michigan Tech Research Institute


Lake Erie has experienced dramatic changes in water quality over the past several decades requiring extensive monitoring to assess effectiveness of adaptive management strategies. Remote sensing offers a unique potential to provide synoptic monitoring at daily time scales complementing in-situ sampling activities occurring in Lake Erie. Bio-optical remote sensing algorithms require knowledge about the inherent optical properties (IOPs) of the water for parameterization to produce robust water quality products. This study reports new IOP and apparent optical property (AOP) datasets for western Lake Erie that encapsulate the May–October period for 2015 and 2016 at weekly sampling intervals. Previously reported IOP and AOP observations have been temporally limited and have not assessed statistical differences between IOPs over spatial and temporal gradients. The objective of this study is to assess trends in IOPs over variable spatial and temporal scales. Large spatio-temporal variability in IOPs was observed between 2015 and 2016 likely due to the difference in the extent and duration of mid-summer cyanobacteria blooms. Differences in the seasonal trends of the specific phytoplankton absorption coefficient between 2015 and 2016 suggest differing algal assemblages between the years. Other IOP variables, including chromophoric, dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and beam attenuation spectral slopes, suggest variability is influenced by river discharge and sediment re-suspension. The datasets presented in this study show how these IOPs and AOPs change over a season and between years, and are useful in advancing the applicability and robustness of remote sensing methods to retrieve water quality information in western Lake Erie.

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© 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of International Association for Great Lakes Research. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

Journal of Great Lakes Research


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