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Journal of Applied Remote Sensing • Open Access

Increased potential to monitor water quality in the near-shore environment with Landsat’s next-generation satellite
Author(s): Aaron D. Gerace; John R. Schott; Robert Nevins

Paper Abstract

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) is a new sensor developed by the joint USGS-NASA Landsat Data Continuity Mission that should become a valuable tool for studying inland and coastal waters. With upgrades to spectral coverage, 12-bit quantization, and increased signal-to-noise due to its new push-broom design, OLI exhibits the potential to become the first Landsat sensor with the radiometric resolution necessary for retrieval of the three primary constituents in Case 2 waters: chlorophyll, suspended materials, and colored-dissolved organic matter. Considering its traditional 30-m spatial resolution, this next-generation Landsat satellite will be especially useful for monitoring the near-shore environment. This work presents the relevant sensor parameters and results of experiments designed to determine if OLI will have the radiometric sensitivity necessary for water-based research. An OLI sensor model is developed, and its ability to retrieve water constituents from simulated data is compared with that of existing sensors. Results indicate that when atmospheric effects are properly accounted for, OLI introduces retrieval errors of less than 11% of the expected observable range for all three constituents. Furthermore, by spatially averaging a few OLI pixels, noise can be reduced to the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer levels, making this next Landsat instrument an exciting option for monitoring inland and coastal waters.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 May 2013
PDF: 19 pages
J. Appl. Remote Sens. 7(1) 073558 doi: 10.1117/1.JRS.7.073558
Published in: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing Volume 7, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Aaron D. Gerace, Rochester Institute of Technology (United States)
John R. Schott, Rochester Institute of Technology (United States)
Robert Nevins, St. Olaf College (United States)


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