Mapping the water constituents from remotely sensed ocean color data enables a better understanding of the dispersal patterns of river-borne substances in the Gaoping (formerly spelled Kaoping) River, Shelf and Canyon (KPRSC) system. Based on twelve MODIS-Aqua images in the KPRSC region taken in 2005, we apply a newly developed GA-SA approach to derive maps of chlorophyll-a concentration (Chl-a), colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and non-algal particle/detritus/mineral (NAP). The results demonstrated that the different characteristics of Chl-a, CDOM and NAP make them ideal tracers for observing large-scale dispersal patterns. With ancillary information of averaged daily precipitation, the daily wind field obtained from QuikSCAT (Quick Scatterometer), and the 8-day composite of the temperature field obtained from MODIS-Aqua, we categorized the surface dispersal patterns as coastal, northwestward and frontal patterns. Also, for the first time, we observed a sudden increase of biomass on a large scale from a pair of ocean color images taken over only a 2-day interval. Another remarkable feature is the interaction between the southeastward flow and the intrusion of the Kuroshio Branch, resulting in complicated patterns with various scales of vortex structures and current fronts. The observed features could be used for model validation of the flow field of the KPRSC system.
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