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Open AccessArticle

Water Quality Drivers in 11 Gulf of Mexico Estuaries

Institute for Marine Remote Sensing, College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, 140 7th Ave. South, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701, USA
Environmental Health Department, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, P.O. Box 365067, San Juan, PR 00936, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(2), 255;
Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Water Quality)
Coastal water-quality is both a primary driver and also a consequence of coastal ecosystem health. Turbidity, a measure of dissolved and particulate water-quality matter, is a proxy for water quality, and varies on daily to interannual periods. Turbidity is influenced by a variety of factors, including algal particles, colored dissolved organic matter, and suspended sediments. Identifying which factors drive trends and extreme events in turbidity in an estuary helps environmental managers and decision makers plan for and mitigate against water-quality issues. Efforts to do so on large spatial scales have been hampered due to limitations of turbidity data, including coarse and irregular temporal resolution and poor spatial coverage. We addressed these issues by deriving a proxy for turbidity using ocean color satellite products for 11 Gulf of Mexico estuaries from 2000 to 2014 on weekly, monthly, seasonal, and annual time-steps. Drivers were identified using Akaike’s Information Criterion and multiple regressions to model turbidity against precipitation, wind speed, U and V wind vectors, river discharge, water level, and El Nino Southern Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation climate indices. Turbidity variability was best explained by wind speed across estuaries for both time-series and extreme turbidity events, although more dynamic patterns were found between estuaries over various time steps. View Full-Text
Keywords: MODIS; turbidity; wind speed; discharge MODIS; turbidity; wind speed; discharge
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MDPI and ACS Style

McCarthy, M.J.; Otis, D.B.; Méndez-Lázaro, P.; Muller-Karger, F.E. Water Quality Drivers in 11 Gulf of Mexico Estuaries. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 255.

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