Total suspended matter (TSM) concentration is an extremely important parameter for water quality definition. The aim of this work is the evaluation of the effect of the Three Gorges Dam on total suspended sediments using remote sensing data at different temporal and spatial resolutions. TSM is estimated for the middle Yangtze river, China, before and after the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. The retrieved values are correlated to ground daily discharge values, finding relations between the physical quantities and discharge. Then, the application of the obtained relations to the discharge dataset provides continuous daily estimations of TSM values, also covering the days for which satellite scenes were lacking. This daily dataset will allow us to estimate the annual volume of river solid sediments. According to this work, both low spatial resolution MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data and high-resolution. Landsat 5 and 7 are able to detect the changes in TSM distribution over space and time induced by the building of the Three Gorges Dam, with a variation of even 50 mg/L over summer season. The confrontation of solid discharge with daily estimated TSM values shows that the single band MODIS algorithm performs better for medium-low concentrations, while the dual-band algorithm for MODIS and the selected Landsat algorithm perform better with high concentrations.
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