A space-time geostatistical model for probabilistic estimation of harmful algal bloom biomass and areal extent

Science of the Total Environment
By: , and 



Harmful algal blooms (HABs) have been increasing in intensity across many waterbodies worldwide, including the western basin of Lake Erie. Substantial efforts have been made to track these blooms using in situ sampling and remote sensing. However, such measurements do not fully capture HAB spatial and temporal dynamics due to the limitations of discrete shipboard sampling over large areas and the effects of clouds and winds on remote sensing estimates. To address these limitations, we develop a space-time geostatistical modeling framework to improve estimates of HAB timing, extent, and intensity using five independent sets of chlorophyll a (chl-a) data sampled from June to October, 2008 to 2017. Based on the Bayesian information criterion for model selection, trend variables explain bloom northerly and easterly expansion from Maumee Bay, wind effects over depth, and variability among sampling methods. Cross validation results indicate the model can estimate daily, location-specific chl-a concentrations with reasonable accuracy (R2 = 55%) between monitoring cruises. Conditional simulations provide probabilistic estimates of algal biomass and surface areal extent, which are compared to remote sensing estimates. The simulations also provide, for the first time, comprehensive estimates of overall bloom biomass based on depth-integrated concentrations, with quantified uncertainties. These estimates enhance our understanding of HAB variability and can inform HAB monitoring network design, predictive modeling, and management.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A space-time geostatistical model for probabilistic estimation of harmful algal bloom biomass and areal extent
Series title Science of the Total Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.133776
Volume 695
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 133776, 12 p.
Country United States, Canada
Other Geospatial Lake Erie
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