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Airborne hyperspectral potential for coastal biogeochemistry of the Scheldt Estuary and plume (SCHELDT)

Research project S0/00/012 (Research action S0)

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Description :

Estuaries are obligate pathways for the transfer of dissolved and particulate material from the continent to the marine system. The tidal regime of some estuaries leads to an increased residence time of the freshwater in the estuarine mixing zone and pronounced changes in the speciation of elements. European estuaries are subject to intense anthropogenic disturbance reflected in elevated loading of detrital organic matter, which induce high respiration rates and the production of large quantities of dissolved CO2.

In the present days, researches on the functioning of estuarine and coastal ecosystems are based on highly time consuming, costly sea campaigns and laboratory analyses. Although optical spaceborne remote sensing already proved useful in such coastal ecosystems studies, hyperspectroscopy opened a new dimension by allowing improved distinction of various biogeochemical compounds through characteristic spectral signature identification.

The goal of this research is to explore the potential of CASI-SWIR airborne hyperspectroscopy in retrieving some of the biogeochemical parameters of interest in the Schedlt estuary and plume. A 20 sampling stations field survey transect is proposed in order to cover as quickly as possible the wide range of water quality encountered from the inner estuary to the outer limit of the plume. The numerous parameters and spectrum measured in each station will be used for further remote sensing analysis, as well as to complete the interpretation of the observed environmental processes.

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