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Remote Sens. 2012, 4(1), 271-302; doi:10.3390/rs4010271
Article

Environmental and Sensor Limitations in Optical Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs: Implications for Monitoring and Sensor Design

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Received: 1 December 2011 / Revised: 9 January 2012 / Accepted: 9 January 2012 / Published: 23 January 2012
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Abstract

A generic method was developed for analysing the capabilities of optical remote sensing of aquatic systems in terms of environmental components and imaging sensor configurations. The method was based on a component based model of the entire system in which not only benthic composition but other environmental components such as water inherent optical properties (IOPs), bathymetry, sun elevation, wind speed and sensor noise characteristics were defined by datasets with the potential to include across-image variation. The model was applied to data from Pacific Ocean reefs in an airborne sensor context to estimate the primary environmental or sensor factors confounding discrimination of benthic mixtures of key reef types: live coral, bleached coral, dead coral and macroalgae. Results indicate that spectral variation of benthic types and sub-pixel mixing is the primary limiting factor for benthic mapping objectives, whereas instrument noise levels are a minor factor.
Keywords: remote sensing; benthic; aquatic; inherent optical properties; coral reefs; bleaching remote sensing; benthic; aquatic; inherent optical properties; coral reefs; bleaching
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Hedley, J.D.; Roelfsema, C.M.; Phinn, S.R.; Mumby, P.J. Environmental and Sensor Limitations in Optical Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs: Implications for Monitoring and Sensor Design. Remote Sens. 2012, 4, 271-302.

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