Remote-sensing reflectance and true colour produced by a coupled hydrodynamic, optical, sediment, biogeochemical model of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia: Comparison with satellite data
Aquatic biogeochemical models are vital tools in understanding and predicting human impacts on water clarity. In this paper, we develop a spectrally-resolved optical model that produces remote-sensing reflectance as a function of depth-resolved biogeochemical model properties such as phytoplankton biomass, suspended sediment concentrations and benthic reflectance. We compare simulated remote-sensing reflectance from a 4 km resolution coupled hydrodynamic, optical, sediment and biogeochemical model configured for the Great Barrier Reef with observed remote-sensing reflectance from the MODIS sensor at the 8 ocean colour bands. The optical model is sufficiently accurate to capture the remote-sensing reflectance that would arise from a specific biogeochemical state. Thus the mismatch between simulated and observed remote-sensing reflectance provides an excellent metric for model assessment of the coupled biogeochemical model. Finally, we combine simulated remote-sensing reflectance in a red/green/blue colour model to produce simulated true colour images during the passage of Tropical Cyclone Yasi in February 2011.