Analysis of suspended-sediment concentration data in San Francisco Bay is complicated by spatial and temporal variability. In situ optical backscatterance sensors provide continuous suspended-sediment concentration data, but inaccessibility, vandalism, and cost limit the number of potential monitoring stations. Satellite imagery reveals the spatial distribution of surficial-suspended sediment concentrations in the Bay; however, temporal resolution is poor. Analysis of the in situ sensor data in conjunction with the satellite reflectance data shows the effects of physical processes on both the spatial and temporal distribution of suspended sediment in San Francisco Bay. Plumes can be created by large freshwater flows. Zones of high suspended-sediment concentrations in shallow subembayments are associated with wind-wave resuspension and the spring-neap cycle. Filaments of clear and turbid water are caused by different transport processes in deep channels, as opposed to adjacent shallow water.
Additional publication details
Combined use of remote sensing and continuous monitoring to analyse the variability of suspended-sediment concentrations in San Francisco Bay, California