Vantrepotte, V; Gensac, E; Loisel, H; Gardel, A; Dessailly, D; Meriaux, X (2013). Satellite assessment of the coupling between in water suspended particulate matter and mud banks dynamics over the French Guiana coastal domain. JOURNAL OF SOUTH AMERICAN EARTH SCIENCES, 44, 25-34.
Particulate suspended matter concentration (SPM) were estimated over a 8 year time period (2002-2010) in the coastal waters of French Guiana from a regional algorithm applied to the MODIS monthly reflectance measurements. Comparison between SPOT images and MODIS-SPM maps revealed the strong spatiotemporal coupling between in water SPM and the dynamics of local (i.e. Kourou and Cayenne) mud banks. Highest MODIS SPM values (>13 g m(-3) approximately) can be significantly associated with the subtidal part of the banks as well as to the related turbid plume. The migration of these mud banks induces strong interannual changes in SPM reaching up to 6% year(-1) within increasing and decreasing patchy areas distributed alternatively along the coastline of French Guiana. Mud banks migration rates derived from MODIS SPM data reach in average about 2 km year(-1) in agreement with previous studies. The MODIS time series have allowed for a detailed description of the seasonality and interannual variations in the in-water SPM loads. Seasonal changes in SPM are related to the onset of the trade wind season. Marked non-linear patterns including a sharp evolution in the SPM values around 2005 as well as additional high frequency modulations have been emphasized within the upward and downward SPM trend regions. Concurrent temporal variations in the frequency of northward swells (favoring mud banks migration and reworking) as well as interannual changes in the amount of sediment delivered by the Amazon River have been shown to play a major role in the SPM temporal patterns observed in the French Guiana coastal waters. Our results clearly demonstrate the advantage for ocean color data to describe mud banks dynamics through the assessment of in water SPM temporal variability. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.