Bonansea, M; Ferrero, S; Ferral, A; Ledesma, M; German, A; Carreno, J; Rodriguez, C; Pinotti, L (2020). Assessing water surface temperature from Landsat imagery and its relationship with a nuclear power plant. HYDROLOGICAL SCIENCES JOURNAL-JOURNAL DES SCIENCES HYDROLOGIQUES.

Water temperature is fundamental to understand the functioning of aquatic systems. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of warm water discharge from a nuclear power plant on the water surface temperature (WST) of a reservoir. Using a 6-year Landsat-derived WST dataset, which includes 3 years of the power plant being in operation (2013-2015) and 3 years in which the power plant was not functioning (2016-2018), the effect of the thermal pollution was assessed. The results show that, although the warm water discharge did not reveal a statistically significant increase on the mean WST of the reservoir (p > 0.05), multi-temporal Landsat imagery revealed that the power plant generated a local thermal impact. This was the principal heat flux following a dissipation line that was wide near the cooling channel and expanding towards the rest of the reservoir.