The use of earth observation techniques to improve catchment-scale pollution predictions
Davenport, I. J., Silgram, M., Robinson, J. S., Lamb, A., Settle, J. J. and Willig, A. (2003) The use of earth observation techniques to improve catchment-scale pollution predictions. Physics & Chemistry of the Earth, 28 (33-36). pp. 1365-1376.
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.pce.2003.09.013
Remote sensing can potentially provide information useful in improving pollution transport modelling in agricultural catchments. Realisation of this potential will depend on the availability of the raw data, development of information extraction techniques, and the impact of the assimilation of the derived information into models. High spatial resolution hyperspectral imagery of a farm near Hereford, UK is analysed. A technique is described to automatically identify the soil and vegetation endmembers within a field, enabling vegetation fractional cover estimation. The aerially-acquired laser altimetry is used to produce digital elevation models of the site. At the subfield scale the hypothesis that higher resolution topography will make a substantial difference to contaminant transport is tested using the AGricultural Non-Point Source (AGNPS) model. Slope aspect and direction information are extracted from the topography at different resolutions to study the effects on soil erosion, deposition, runoff and nutrient losses. Field-scale models are often used to model drainage water, nitrate and runoff/sediment loss, but the demanding input data requirements make scaling up to catchment level difficult. By determining the input range of spatial variables gathered from EO data, and comparing the response of models to the range of variation measured, the critical model inputs can be identified. Response surfaces to variation in these inputs constrain uncertainty in model predictions and are presented. Although optical earth observation analysis can provide fractional vegetation cover, cloud cover and semi-random weather patterns can hinder data acquisition in Northern Europe. A Spring and Autumn cloud cover analysis is carried out over seven UK sites close to agricultural districts, using historic satellite image metadata, climate modelling and historic ground weather observations. Results are assessed in terms of probability of acquisition probability and implications for future earth observation missions. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.