Robert Holz and others at the UW-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) intend to develop automated methods to relate satellite sensed data with pigment concentrations across the surface of Lake Mendota. Such methods would provide spatial information about the algal levels in the lake that the remote sensing buoy cannot given its stationary presence on the lake. Access to this spatial information will allow researchers to better study the hydrodynamic and biological processes going on in the lake.

To develop these methods, researchers at the SSEC will use measurements of chlorophyll-a and phycocyanin pigment levels at the buoy to calibrate spectral data obtained from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), an imaging instrument attached to NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. They will also use data from a number of manual chlorophyll and phycocyanin measurements made on days where the satellite passes over to validate this calibration.