Lahet, F, Stramski, D (2010). MODIS imagery of turbid plumes in San Diego coastal waters during rainstorm events. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 114(2), 332-344.
Data of normalized water-leaving radiance, nLw. obtained from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite at spatial resolution of 250 m (band 1 centered at 645 nm) and 500 m (band 4 at 555 nm) are used to study turbid plumes in coastal waters of southern California during rainstorm events in winter of 2004-2005. Our study area includes San Diego coastal waters, which extend approximately 25 km offshore between Point Loma and 10 km south of the US-Mexican border. These waters are influenced by terrigenous input of particulate and dissolved materials from San Diego and Tijuana watersheds and non-point sources along the shore. Optimum threshold values of satellite-derived normalized water-leaving radiances at both wavebands were established for distinguishing the plume from ambient ocean waters. These threshold values were determined by searching for a maximum correlation between the estimates of satellite-derived plume area calculated using a broad range of nLw values and the environmental variables characterizing rainfall, river discharge, wind. and tides. A correlation analysis involving the amount of precipitated water accumulated during a storm event over the San Diego and Tijuana watersheds was selected as the basis for final determinations of the optimum threshold nLW(thr) and subsequent calculations of the plume area. By applying this method to a sequence of MODIS imagery, we demonstrate the spatial extent and evolution of the plume during rainstorm events under various conditions of precipitation, river discharge, wind forcing, and coastal currents. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.