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Remote Sens., Volume 9, Issue 8 (August 2017)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) Surface inundation is known to have an important impact on biogeochemical, ecological and [...] Read more. Surface inundation is known to have an important impact on biogeochemical, ecological and hydrological processes in wetlands. However, the spatial distribution and temporal dynamics of wetland inundation is still poorly understood. This article describes a fully automated method for estimating water fraction at sub-pixel scales using Landsat imagery. Assessment of estimated sub-pixel water fraction, using fine-resolution ground or airborne data over three wetland sites across North America, showed that our algorithm performs well over a gradient of wetland types. Additionally, comparison of our inundation estimates with those of existing surface water data products reveals a nearly five-fold increase in sensitivity to small but numerous wetlands when estimating sub-pixel water fraction. These findings therefore represent an important step in improving our understanding of wetland inundation dynamics. View the paper