Environmental Applications of Aquatic Remote Sensing

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Many lakes, coastal zones and oceans are directly or indirectly influenced by human activities. Through the outlet of a vast amount of substances in the air and water, we are changing the natural conditions on local and global levels. Remote sensing sensors, on satellites or airplanes, can collect image data, providing the user with information about the depicted area, object or phenomenon. Three different applications are discussed in this thesis. In the first part, we have used a bio-optical model to derive information about water quality parameters from remote sensing data collected over Swedish lakes. In the second part, remote sensing data have been used to locate and map wastewater plumes from pulp and paper industries along the east coast of Sweden. Finally, in the third part, we have investigated to what extent satellite data can be used to monitor coral reefs and detect coral bleaching. Regardless of application, it is important to understand the limitations of this technique. The available sensors are different and limited in terms of their spatial, spectral, radiometric and temporal resolution. We are also limited with respect to the objects we are monitoring, as the concentration of some substances is too low or the objects are too small, to be identified from space. However, this technique gives us a possibility to monitor our environment, in this case the aquatic environment, with a superior spatial coverage. Other advantages with remote sensing are the possibility of getting updated information and that the data is collected and distributed in digital form and therefore can be processed using computers.