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Chemistry and the Environment Division (VI)


Number: 1999-014-2-600

Title: Airborne and remote monitoring of water quality: evaluation of remote sensing techniques for water quality control in surface water bodies.

Task Group
A.G. Dekker

A Gitelson, I. Dor, W.J.M. Peijnenburg, H. Egli, O.A. Shpigun

Completion Date: 2006 - project abandoned

To prepare a critical review and the state-of-the-art of the remote sensing techniques which are suggested for surface water monitoring, using visible and near infra-red ranges of the light spectrum and interpretation of data to support water quality monitoring and evaluation.

Remote sensing techniques are being introduced as simple and fast response techniques for water quality monitoring, providing spatial distribution and area coverage not possible with direct measurements and water sampling. Using multi-spectral imagery, large water bodies can be easily and immediately monitored for particular water pollutants, allowing immediate reaction, supplementing tedious measurement of common pollution indicators, e.g., suspended matter, BOD5, DOC and chlorophyll measurements.

High spectral resolution radiometry has been used for studying the spectral behavior of reflectance in various water bodies producing detailed distribution of optically active constituents concentrations in natural and man made water bodies impounding fresh water and wastewater effluents (Gitelson et al. 1993, Dekker 1993, Quibell, 1991 & 1992, Lanthorp, 1992, Stephan et al. 1997). Theses studies yielded valuable and quantitative information regarding various water constituents, e.g. sediments, phytoplankton (chlorophyll), detritus and other non-organic matter and their interaction with natural light, assuming that spectral green to near infra red range can be effective in productive inland water monitoring as compared to the blue to green spectral range considered to be appropriate for remote sensing of ocean water quality.

Space - borne remote multi-spectral images are commercially available from SPOT, MSS, LANDSAT and ARIES and having the necessary equipment, these powerful and promising monitoring tools provide multi-spectral imagery of large areas that can replace the timely, tedious and frequent sampling of water and on-line measurements. Reflectance spectra of water constituents can be used to estimate spatial and temporal variation of water constituents including phytoplankton density, concentration of suspended and dissolved compounds and chlorophyll. Remote sensing of the optical signal reflected from water surface could be a useful mean, providing a synoptic view of the water body. Issues to be discussed will include:

  • Methods and techniques
  • Practical experience
  • Calibration, verification and data interpretation
  • Quantitative estimation of specific contaminants and accuracy
  • Complementary models
  • Examination of time series

This project was presented at a poster session at the IUPAC Congress/GA July 2001
>view pdf - 1.4MB<

The review and its findings will be discussed at a workshop to be organized in 2002.

project abandoned

Last Update: 9 August 2006


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