Remote sensing imagery can be an invaluable resource to quantify land change in coastal wetlands. Obtaining an accurate measure of land change can, however, be complicated by differences in fluvial and tidal inundation experienced when the imagery is captured. This study classified Landsat imagery from two wetland areas in coastal Louisiana from 1983 to 2010 into categories of land and water. Tide height, river level, and date were used as independent variables in a multiple regression model to predict land area in the Wax Lake Delta (WLD) and compare those estimates with an adjacent marsh area lacking direct fluvial inputs. Coefficients of determination from regressions using both measures of water level along with date as predictor variables of land extent in the WLD, were higher than those obtained using the current methodology which only uses date to predict land change. Land change trend estimates were also improved when the data were divided by time period. Water level corrected land gain in the WLD from 1983 to 2010 was 1 km 2 year -1, while rates in the adjacent marsh remained roughly constant. This approach of isolating environmental variability due to changing water levels improves estimates of actual land change in a dynamic system, so that other processes that may control delta development such as hurricanes, floods, and sediment delivery, may be further investigated. ?? 2011 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (outside the USA).
Additional publication details
Using Multitemporal Remote Sensing Imagery and Inundation Measures to Improve Land Change Estimates in Coastal Wetlands