Chlorophyll-a concentration retrieval in eutrophic lakes in Lithuania from Sentinel-2 data

  • Dalia Grendaitė
  • Edvinas Stonevičius
  • Jūratė Karosienė
  • Ksenija Savadova
  • Jūratė Kasperovičienė
Keywords: lakes, water quality, chlorophyll-a, remote sensing, Sentinel-2


Inland waters are an important habitat for flora and fauna and are also used for aesthetic, recreational, and industrial needs; therefore, monitoring the current state of freshwaters and applying measures to improve water quality are of high importance. To have an efficient monitoring system that could cover large areas, the use of remote sensing data is crucial. In this study the suitability of the Sentinel-2 Multispectral Imager data is tested for observing cyanobacteria bloom events in the eutrophic lakes and retrieving the chlorophyll-a concentration – an indicator of phytoplankton biomass. The analysis is carried out using data from four lakes in Lithuania – two eutrophic blooming lakes and two oligo-mesotrophic non-blooming lakes. The results showed that reflectances are higher in the eutrophic lakes than in the oligo-mesotrophic lakes due to the presence of an optically active constituent, namely, chlorophyll-a pigment. We tested empirical equations for chlorophyll-a concentration retrieval in eutrophic lakes derived in other studies to check whether they could be used without adaptation to local conditions. Most of the equations performed well (R2 = 0.5–0.8); however, they had high RMSEs = 17–53 μg L–1. The equation used with the bottom of atmosphere data CHL8_L2A (R2 = 0.76) had the lowest RMSE = 9 μg L–1. In addition, we derived empirical equations for eutrophic lakes in Lithuania. The equations that were based on the Sentinel-2 band ratio B5/B4 and the three band (B4, B5, and B8A) expression performed the best (R2 = 0.77–0.79) and had lower RMSE = 7 μg L–1 than empirical equations from other studies. A larger in situ dataset could improve the algorithm performance in retrieving the chlorophyll-a concentration. The first attempts to map water quality parameters in eutrophic lakes in Lithuania using the data received from the Sentinel-2 MSI sensor show good results, as the changes in reflectance, caused by the changes in chlorophyll-a concentration, can be seen from satellite images.
Gamtinė geografija / Physical Geography