• artificial neural network;
  • water quality;
  • remote sensing;
  • band combination

Abstract: The concern about water quality in inland water bodies such as lakes and reservoirs has been increasing. Owing to the complexity associated with field collection of water quality samples and subsequent laboratory analyses, scientists and researchers have employed remote sensing techniques for water quality information retrieval. Due to the limitations of linear regression methods, many researchers have employed the artificial neural network (ANN) technique to decorrelate satellite data in order to assess water quality. In this paper, we propose a method that establishes the output sensitivity toward changes in the individual input reflectance channels while modeling water quality from remote sensing data collected by Landsat thematic mapper (TM). From the sensitivity, a hypothesis about the importance of each band can be made and used as a guideline to select appropriate input variables (band combination) for ANN models based on the principle of parsimony for water quality retrieval. The approach is illustrated through a case study of Beaver Reservoir in Arkansas, USA. The results of the case study are highly promising and validate the input selection procedure outlined in this paper. The results indicate that this approach could significantly reduce the effort and computational time required to develop an ANN water quality model.