Developing indicators to monitor environmental change in wetlands with the aid of Earth Observation Systems can help to obtain spatial data that is not feasible with in situ measures (e.g., flooding patterns). In this study, we aim to test Sentinel-2A/B images suitability for detecting small water bodies in wetlands characterized by high diversity of temporal and spatial flooding patterns using previously published indices. For this purpose, we used medium spatial resolution Sentinel-2A/B images of four representative coastal wetlands in the Valencia Region (East Spain, Mediterranean Sea), and on three different dates. To validate the results, 60 points (30 in water areas and 30 in land areas) were distributed randomly within a 20 m buffer around the border of each digitized water polygon for each date and wetland (600 in total). These polygons were mapped using as a base map orthophotos of high spatial resolution. In our study, the best performing index was the NDWI. Overall accuracy and Kappa index results were optimal for −0.30 threshold in all the studied wetlands and dates. The consistency in the results is key to provide a methodology to characterize water bodies in wetlands as generalizable as possible. Most studies developed in wetlands have focused on calculating global gain or loss of wetland area. However, inside of wetlands which hold protection figures, the main threat is not necessarily land use change, but rather water management strategies. Applying Sentinel-2A/B images to calculate the NDWI index and monitor flooded area changes will be key to analyse the consequence of these management actions.
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