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Detecting marine intrusion into rivers using EO-1 ALI satellite imagery: Modaomen Waterway, Pearl River Estuary, China

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Because of increasing marine intrusion into the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) in China, salinity has become one of the important and necessary hydrological and water quality monitoring parameters. In this research, we examined the relationships between the reflectance from Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) Advanced Land Imager (ALI) satellite imagery and total suspended solids (TSS) based on the synchronous in situ spectra analysis of the river water, in an attempt to detect salinity using remote sensing technique. The study site was the Modaomen Waterway in the PRE, Guangdong Province, China. We found a strong negative linear relationship between in situ reflectance at 549 nm and TSS concentrations (R2 = 0.91, p < 0.001) when the salinity of the river was less than 1.46‰. It indicates that the TSS near Pinggang and Nanzhen in Modaomen Waterway of PRE tends to be dominated by organic mater carried by the particles and this is one major reason for the inverse relation between reflectance and TSS. Meanwhile, a strong correlation was observed between salinity and TSS (R2 = 0.70, p < 0.001). The salinity-TSS model accounted for 70% of variation in salinity and allowed the estimation of salinity with a root mean square error (RMSE) of less than 0.036‰ when the TSS concentrations were between 7.4 and 28 mg l-1. Therefore, we were able to develop a new method of detecting surface salinity of the river estuary from the calibrated EO-1 ALI reflectance data. The EO-1 ALI derived surface salinity and TSS concentrations were validated using in situ data that were collected on 18 December 2005, synchronous with EO-1 ALI satellite imagery acquisition. The results showed that the semi-empirical relationships are capable of deducing the TSS concentrations and then salinity from EO-1 ALI imagery in the PRE under low salinity. The methodology of detecting salinity from ALI imagery provides potential to monitor coastal saltwater intrusion and provides the water supply and conservancy authorities with useful spatial information to spatially understand and manage the marine intrusion.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center for Louisiana Water Studies, Institute of Coastal Ecology and Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA, USA 2: Public Laboratory of Environment Science and Technology of Guangdong Province, Guangzhou Institute of Geography, Guangzhou, PR China 3: State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Jointly Sponsored by Beijing Normal University and the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, PR China

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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