Efficient wetland surface water detection and monitoring via Landsat: Comparison with in situ data from the Everglades Depth Estimation Network

Remote Sensing
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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey is developing new Landsat science products. One, named Dynamic Surface Water Extent (DSWE), is focused on the representation of ground surface inundation as detected in cloud-/shadow-/snow-free pixels for scenes collected over the U.S. and its territories. Characterization of DSWE uncertainty to facilitate its appropriate use in science and resource management is a primary objective. A unique evaluation dataset developed from data made publicly available through the Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN) was used to evaluate one candidate DSWE algorithm that is relatively simple, requires no scene-based calibration data, and is intended to detect inundation in the presence of marshland vegetation. A conceptual model of expected algorithm performance in vegetated wetland environments was postulated, tested and revised. Agreement scores were calculated at the level of scenes and vegetation communities, vegetation index classes, water depths, and individual EDEN gage sites for a variety of temporal aggregations. Landsat Archive cloud cover attribution errors were documented. Cloud cover had some effect on model performance. Error rates increased with vegetation cover. Relatively low error rates for locations of little/no vegetation were unexpectedly dominated by omission errors due to variable substrates and mixed pixel effects. Examined discrepancies between satellite and in situ modeled inundation demonstrated the utility of such comparisons for EDEN database improvement. Importantly, there seems no trend or bias in candidate algorithm performance as a function of time or general hydrologic conditions, an important finding for long-term monitoring. The developed database and knowledge gained from this analysis will be used for improved evaluation of candidate DSWE algorithms as well as other measurements made on Everglades surface inundation, surface water heights and vegetation using radar, lidar and hyperspectral instruments. Although no other sites have such an extensive in situ network or long-term records, the broader applicability of this and other candidate DSWE algorithms is being evaluated in other wetlands using this work as a guide. Continued interaction among DSWE producers and potential users will help determine whether the measured accuracies are adequate for practical utility in resource management.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Efficient wetland surface water detection and monitoring via Landsat: Comparison with in situ data from the Everglades Depth Estimation Network
Series title Remote Sensing
DOI 10.3390/rs70912503
Volume 9
Issue 7
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher MDPI
Contributing office(s) Eastern Geographic Science Center
Description 36 p.
First page 12503
Last page 12538
Country United States
State Florida
Other Geospatial Everglades National Park
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N