Satellite observations of flood-driven Mississippi River plume in the spring of 2008

Authors

  • Wei Shi,

    1. Center for Satellite Applications and Research, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, NOAA, Camp Springs, Maryland, USA
    2. CIRA, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
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  • Menghua Wang

    1. Center for Satellite Applications and Research, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, NOAA, Camp Springs, Maryland, USA
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Abstract

[1] Satellite measurements from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on Aqua were used to quantify the Mississippi River plume following the intense rainfall and massive flood along the Mississippi River and its tributaries during the spring of 2008. The shortwave infrared (SWIR) atmospheric correction algorithm has been used to derive the total suspended matter (TSM) concentration and the spectral optical features of the Mississippi River plume. Following a significantly increased river discharge, the observed Mississippi River plume was considerably large relative to climatological monthly Mississippi River plume data, which were derived from the six-year MODIS-Aqua time series from 2002–2008. The areal coverage of the Mississippi River plume was double compared to the six-year mean value, with plume areal coverage of 5859, 4984, 4366, and 3050 km2 for the months of April, May, June, and July in 2008, respectively. Within the plume, significantly elevated TSM concentration was observed with the pronounced normalized water-leaving reflectance at the green, red, and near-infrared wavelengths in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Near the coast, the satellite-observed TSM concentration in April had increased approximately from the 20 mg/l six-year mean value to over 30 mg/l in the April of 2008.

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