Estimation of Colored Dissolved Organic Matter from Landsat-8 Imagery for Complex Inland Water: Case Study of Lake Huron

Jiang Chen, Wei Ning Zhu, Yong Q. Tian, Qian Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Spectral reflectance data, including irradiance reflectance (R-t) and remote sensing reflectance (R-mathrm rs , sr -1) , and colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) absorption coefficients a-mathrm CDOM (440), were collected in the Saginaw River and Kawkawlin River plume regions of Lake Huron. We developed an empirical band ratio algorithm to derive a-mathrm CDOM (440) that could be directly applicable to Landsat-8 imagery. A model ranking method is used to determine the best band ratios as well as their empirical functions. One problem of previous CDOM estimations from Landsat imagery is that they usually use R-t or R-t/\pi rather than the real R-mathrm rs as the input data, but as a result of our study, algorithms derived using R-mathrm rs performed much better than using R-t. The green/red band ratio gave the best accuracies by fitting with power and exponential models (power model: R2 = 0.819 and RMSE =0.889\textm-1 and exponential model: R2 = 0.829 and RMSE =0.863\textm-1). The power and exponential models were further validated using an independent data group, achieving excellent results with the RMSE of 0.642 and 0.504 \textm-1 , respectively. The application of the exponential model a-mathrm CDOM (440) = 40.75e-2.463x, x = R-mathrm rs (B3)/ R-mathrm rs (B4) on two Landsat-8 images demonstrated that estimating CDOM from to Landsat-8 imagery has potential applications for monitoring water quality in long term and large scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7815300
Pages (from-to)2201-2212
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017


  • Band ratio algorithm
  • Lake Huron
  • Landsat-8 Operational Land Imager (OLI)
  • colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM)
  • irradiance reflectance
  • remote sensing reflectance


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