Satellite Monitoring of Boston Harbor Water Quality: Past and Future

The transformation of Boston Harbor from the “dirtiest harbor in the country” to a National Park Area is perhaps the most successful estuarine recovery ever seen. Monitoring of the clean-upís progress was required by the initial lawsuits, and the water quality in Boston Harbor has been under surveillance since 1991. We intend to use these comprehensive datasets to analyze the past performance and future capabilities of satellite remote-sensing (such as Landsat) for routine water quality monitoring. We will reconstruct historical surface maps of sea surface temperature, euphotic depth, total absorption and backscatter (and CDOM absorption and Chl after 2002) for Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay from Landsat data historical data from the MWRA, along with buoy and cruise data. Combining these with key environmental parameters, we will provide a realistic framework for accurately deriving surface water quality parameters from space. We will present the information in a format that is deemed useful by local stakeholders concerned with tourism, seafood safety, and aesthetics.