High resolution SeaWiFS data was used to detect red tide events that occurred in the Ariake Sound, Japan, a small embayment known as one of the most productive areas in Japan. SeaWiFS chlorophyll data clearly showed that a large red tide event, which damaged seaweed (Nori) cultures, started early in December 2000 in Isahaya Bay, expanded to the whole sound and persisted to the end of February 2001. The monthly average of SeaWiFS data from May 1998 to December 2001 indicated that the chlorophyll peaks appeared twice a year, in early summer and in fall, after the peaks of rain and river discharge. The SeaWiFS data showed that the red tide event during 2000–2001 winter was part of the fall bloom; however, it started later and continued significantly longer than other years. Satellite ocean color data is useful to detect the red tide; however the algorithms require improvement to accurately estimate chlorophyll in highly turbid water and in red tide areas.

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