In situ and satellite observations of a harmful algal bloom and water condition at the Pearl River estuary in late autumn 1998

Dan Ling Tang, Dana R. Kester, I. Hsun Ni, Yu Zao Qi, Hiroshi Kawamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Harmful algal blooms (HABs) have posed a serious threat to the aquaculture and fisheries industries in recent years, especially in Asia. During 1998 there were several particularly serious blooms in the coastal waters of south China, which caused a serious damage to aquaculture. We report a massive dinoflagellate bloom near the mouth of Pearl River in November 1998 with analyses of data from both in situ sea water measurements and satellites. A multi-parameter environmental mapping system was used to obtain real-time measurements of water quality properties and wind data through the algal bloom area, which allow us to compare water measurements from inside and outside of the bloom areas. This bloom with high concentrations of algal cells was evident as a series of red colored parallel bands of surface water that were 100-300m long and 10-30m wide with a total area of about 20-30km2 by visual. The algal density reached 3.8×107cellsl-1 and the surface chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentration was high. The algal species has been identified as Gymnodinium cf. catenatum Graham. The water column in the bloom area was stratified, where the surface temperature was 24-25°C, the salinity was 18-20%, and the northern wind was about 3-4ms-1 in the bloom area. The SeaWiFS image has shown high Chl-a area coinciding with the bloom area. The sea surface temperature (SST) image of the Pearl River estuary combined with the in situ measurements indicated that the bloom occurred along a mixing front between cooler lower salinity river water and warmer higher saline South China Sea (SCS) water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
JournalHarmful Algae
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jun


  • China
  • Dinoflagellate
  • Harmful algal bloom (HAB)
  • In situ measurement
  • Pearl River estuary
  • SeaWiFS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'In situ and satellite observations of a harmful algal bloom and water condition at the Pearl River estuary in late autumn 1998'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this