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Using Landsat satellite data to support pesticide exposure assessment in California

International Journal of Health Geographics

By:
, ,
DOI: 10.1186/1476-072X-9-46

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Abstract

Background The recent U.S. Geological Survey policy offering Landsat satellite data at no cost provides researchers new opportunities to explore relationships between environment and health. The purpose of this study was to examine the potential for using Landsat satellite data to support pesticide exposure assessment in California. Methods and Results We collected a dense time series of 24 Landsat 5 and 7 images spanning the year 2000 for an agricultural region in Fresno County. We intersected the Landsat time series with the California Department of Water Resources (CDWR) land use map and selected field samples to define the phenological characteristics of 17 major crop types or crop groups. We found the frequent overpass of Landsat enabled detection of crop field conditions (e.g., bare soil, vegetated) over most of the year. However, images were limited during the winter months due to cloud cover. Many samples designated as single-cropped in the CDWR map had phenological patterns that represented multi-cropped or non-cropped fields, indicating they may have been misclassified. Conclusions We found the combination of Landsat 5 and 7 image data would clearly benefit pesticide exposure assessment in this region by 1) providing information on crop field conditions at or near the time when pesticides are applied, and 2) providing information for validating the CDWR map. The Landsat image time-series was useful for identifying idle, single-, and multi-cropped fields. Landsat data will be limited during the winter months due to cloud cover, and for years prior to the Landsat 7 launch (1999) when only one satellite was operational at any given time. We suggest additional research to determine the feasibility of integrating CDWR land use maps and Landsat data to derive crop maps in locations and time periods where maps are not available, which will allow for substantial improvements to chemical exposure estimation.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Using Landsat satellite data to support pesticide exposure assessment in California
Series title:
International Journal of Health Geographics
DOI:
10.1186/1476-072X-9-46
Volume
9
Issue:
46
Year Published:
2010
Language:
English
Publisher:
Springer
Contributing office(s):
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description:
14 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Country:
United States
State:
California
County:
Fresno