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Historical and Operational Monitoring of Surface Sediments in the Lower Mekong Basin Using Landsat and Google Earth Engine Cloud Computing

1
Earth System Science Center, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, 320 Sparkman Dr., Huntsville, AL 35805, USA
2
SERVIR Science Coordination Office, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, 320 Sparkman Dr., Huntsville, AL 35805, USA
3
Environmental Science Department, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton St., San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
4
Department of Atmospheric Science, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, 320 Sparkman Dr., Huntsville, AL 35805, USA
5
Spatial Informatics Group, LLC, 2529 Yolanda Ct., Pleasanton, CA 94566, USA
6
SERVIR-Mekong, SM Tower, 24th Floor, 979/69 Paholyothin Road, Samsen Nai Phayathai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
7
Geospatial Analysis Lab, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton St., San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
8
Google, Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA
9
Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, SM Tower, 24th Floor, 979/69 Paholyothin Road, Samsen Nai Phayathai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
10
Technical Support Division, Mekong River Commission Secretariat, P.O. Box 6101, 184 Fa Ngoum Road, Unit 18, Ban Sithane Neua, Sikhottabong District, Vientiane 01000, Lao PDR
11
RECOFTC—The Center for People and Forests, P.O. Box 1111, Kasetsart Post Office Bangkok 10903, Thailand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(6), 909; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10060909
Received: 15 April 2018 / Revised: 29 May 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 8 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Collection Google Earth Engine Applications)
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Abstract

Reservoir construction and land use change are altering sediment transport within river systems at a global scale. Changes in sediment transport can impact river morphology, aquatic ecosystems, and ultimately the growth and retreat of delta environments. The Lower Mekong Basin is crucial to five neighboring countries for transportation, energy production, sustainable water supply, and food production. In response, countries have coordinated to develop programs for regional scale water quality monitoring that including surface sediment concentrations (SSSC); however, these programs are based on a limited number of point measurements and due to resource limitations, cannot provide comprehensive insights into sediment transport across all strategic locations within the Lower Mekong Basin. To augment in situ SSSC data from the current monitoring program, we developed an empirical model to estimate SSSC across the Lower Mekong Basin from Landsat observations. Model validation revealed that remotely sensed SSSC estimates captured the spatial and temporal dynamics in a range of aquatic environments (main stem of Mekong river, tributary systems, Mekong Floodplain, and reservoirs) while, on average, slightly underestimating SSSC by about 2 mg·L1 across all settings. The operational SSSC model was developed and implemented using Google Earth Engine and Google App Engine was used to host an online application that allows users, without any knowledge of remote sensing, to access SSSC data across the region. Expanded access to SSSC data should be particularly helpful for resource managers and other stakeholders seeking to understand the dynamics between surface sediment concentrations and land use conversions, water policy, and energy production in a globally strategic region. View Full-Text
Keywords: lower mekong basin; landsat collection; suspended sediment concentration; online application; google earth engine lower mekong basin; landsat collection; suspended sediment concentration; online application; google earth engine
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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 (CC BY 4.0).
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Markert, K.N.; Schmidt, C.M.; Griffin, R.E.; Flores, A.I.; Poortinga, A.; Saah, D.S.; Muench, R.E.; Clinton, N.E.; Chishtie, F.; Kityuttachai, K.; Someth, P.; Anderson, E.R.; Aekakkararungroj, A.; Ganz, D.J. Historical and Operational Monitoring of Surface Sediments in the Lower Mekong Basin Using Landsat and Google Earth Engine Cloud Computing. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 909.

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