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Amazon River time series of surface sediment concentration from MODIS

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Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data are of sufficient quality - especially the 8-day composite surface reflectance products - that 19-21 images are consistently available per year for derivation of surface sediment concentration (SSC) for the Amazon River and its tributaries. MODIS-derived SSC from 2001 show similar patterns to field measurements of depth-integrated suspended sediment, with the lowest values occurring during peak flows, and the highest during rising water periods. Tributary data show more irregular patterns, but are consistent among the two datasets. When compared to the few field measurements of SSC, the MODIS data are of similar range and accuracy (7-130 ±10 mg L-1) at 17 sites in the main channel, large tributaries and floodplain lakes. Combined with remote measures of discharge or stage, this framework could be used to regularly monitor suspended sediment loads on large rivers.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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