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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Hydrological Application of Remote Sensing: Water Quality Suspended Sediment and Algae

Authors
item Ritchie, Jerry
item Zimba, Paul

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2004
Publication Date: November 15, 2005
Citation: Ritchie, J.C., Zimba, P.V. 2005. Hydrological application of remote sensing: Water quality suspended sediment and algae. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences, Volume II. London, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons. p. 939-949.

Interpretive Summary: Remote sensing techniques using satellite, aircraft, or hand-held sensors for measuring water quality have improved significantly in recent years and currently have many operational applications for assessing water resources and monitoring water quality. However, limitations in spectral, spatial, and temporal resolution of sensors on current satellites restrict their wide scale applications for monitoring water quality. New satellites and sensors (hyperspectral, high spatial resolution) already launched or planned to be launched over the next decade may provide the improved spectral and spatial resolution needed to monitor water quality parameters in surface waters from space platforms. However, many sites will require the use of airborne or even hand held sensors so that temporal and spatial data can be collected on fast developing pollution events (i.e., algae bloom, sediment laden water from storm events). The integration of remotely sensed data, GPS (Global Positioning Systems), and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technologies provide a valuable tool for monitoring and assessing surface water. Remotely sensed data provide a permanent geographically located image databases as a baseline for future comparisons. The integrated use of remotely sensed data, GPS, and GIS will enable consultants and natural resource managers to develop management plans for a variety of natural resource management applications.

Technical Abstract: Remote sensing techniques for measuring suspended sediments and algae have improved greatly since the 1970s and presently have many actual and potential applications for assessing water resources and for monitoring water quality. However, limitations in spectral, spatial, and temporal resolution of current satellite sensors restrict wide scale application of satellite data for monitoring water quality. New satellites and sensors (hyperspectral, high spatial resolution) already launched or planned to be launched over the next decade may provide the improved spectral and spatial resolution needed to monitor water quality parameters in surface waters from space platforms. However, there may be in many cases requiring the use of airborne or even hand held sensors to collect temporal and spatial data on fast developing pollution events (i.e., algae bloom, sediment laden water from storm events). The integration of remotely sensed data, GPS (Global Positioning Systems), and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technologies provide a valuable tool for monitoring and assessing waterways. Remotely sensed data provide a permanent geographically located image databases as a baseline for future comparisons. The integrated use of remotely sensed data, GPS, and GIS will enable consultants and natural resource managers to develop management plans for a variety of natural resource management applications. Improvements in software for imagery or reflectance signal processing will also improve the near-real time ability to use these data for management decisions.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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