Funded Research: Development of Remote Sensing Water Quality Indices in Inland and Coastal Waters

· 02/2023 - 01/2024

Project number: 2023-R/RRE-004
Strategic Focus Area: Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

Lead PI: Steven Lohrenz, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth


  1. Evaluate relationships between in situ water quality variables (chlorophyll, total pigments, Secchi depth, nutrients, etc.) and satellite products (chlorophyll, total suspended solids, pigment absorption, diffuse irradiance attenuation, remote sensing reflectance) derived from Landsat OLI imagery focusing on Pleasant Bay, Cape Cod, MA as an initial study site;
  2. Expand satellite products to include other sensors such as the Sentinel 3A and 3B OLCI and create time series of indices to evaluate temporal and spatial patterns;
  3. Distribute satellite products in a publicly accessible interactive GIS framework to support water quality management efforts and public outreach.

Methodology & Rationale
Initial efforts will focus on assembling and processing Landsat 8 OLI imagery from the USGS database (Collection 2, Level 1). Imagery will be processed with the NASA SeaDAS processing suite using the C2RCC processing algorithm to retrieve water quality products including chlorophyll, total suspended solids, pigment absorption, diffuse irradiance attenuation, and remote sensing reflectance. These will be compared to in situ observations for Pleasant Bay, Cape Cod, including chlorophyll, phaeopigment, total pigments, nutrients, and particulate organic carbon. Satellite products will be made available in an ArcGIS interactive web interface that will enable users to visualize image products and associated data.

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