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Many lakes and reservoirs lack adequate water quality monitoring programs. With little information on the state of these systems, managing these resources and their contributing watersheds is a challenge. The use of remote sensing presents an opportunity to better characterize these freshwater systems. The full potential of using the Landsat program to measure optically active water quality parameters, such as chlorophyll-a, suspended sediments and water clarity was explored using the Qaraoun Reservoir in Lebanon as a case study. An in situ monitoring program was developed and synchronized with the overpass of Landsat 7 and the newly launched Landsat 8 satellites in an effort to develop, calibrate, and validate empirical relationships that link water quality parameters with sensor radiances. Collected monitoring data revealed that the reservoir was hypereutrophic, with median summer chlorophyll-a concentrations exceeding 70 ug/L. The generated models showed promise in capturing the state of the reservoir, with some differences between the models developed for Landsat 7 and 8. These differences are expected to have implications on the transferability of the developed algorithms and on blending data from both satellites. Yet, the results highlight the importance of using the Landsat program as part of future monitoring activities as well as for hindcasting surface water quality, both a key step towards tracking changes in the system over time.


Session R76, Use of Remote Sensing Techniques



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