Remote sensing of the river Rhine plume
datasetposted on 20.11.2013, 00:00 authored by L. (Loana) Arentz
The data content of remote sensing (RS) images of sea surface temperature (SST) and normalized water-leaving radiance (nLw), for the year 1998, with respect to the River Rhine plume, is investigated. Questions that this study tries to answer are: is it possible to identify the plume from the available RS images, and under which conditions is this possible? How much information on the plumes behaviour can be derived from these images? Does or can this information contribute to our general knowledge of the plume? The images provide a spatial resolution of I km2 and a temporal resolution of I or 2 images per day per sensor for nLw and SST, respectively (in the case of a cloudless atmosphere). In the presence of clouds, no signal is detected for the area of surface water underneath the clouds. Two hypotheses are set up to explain how the RS images can be used to trace the plume. In the hypotheses links are established between salinity gradients that delimit the plume and SST and nLw respectively. The results are based on these hypotheses. From the available images, 9 SST images in spring provide detailed information on the stratified plume and allow for derivation of indirect information on sub-surface processes. In winter the temperature gradients as visible on SST imagery seem to indicate the broad plume patterns. From the nLw images it was not possible to identify the boundaries of the plume. However it is expected that the nLw images are an excellent source for monitoring suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the North Sea. The general conclusion of this study is that the RS data used in this project provide a valuable source of information, with respect to the Dutch coastal zone, in addition to the currently available measurement techniques and computer models. The SST imagery turns out to be particularly useful for tracing stratification, whereas nLw imagery seems to be an excellent source for monitoring SPM in the North Sea. For detailed monitoring of the DCZ and the plume, increased spatial and temporal resolutions are required.