Satellite Multispectral

Brief description

With optimal conditions, the nearshore, shallow seafloor can be mapped using Satellite Multispectral Imaging. Satellite Multispectral instruments can create multiple images of a scene or object using light from different parts of the spectrum. If the proper wavelengths are selected, multispectral images can be used to detect bathymetric features and benthic habitats. The blue-green band provides the greatest penetration of water.

See NOAA's summary table at summary view of Satellite Multispectral sensor technique (265 KB PDF).

UNESCO has useful information available on satellite remote sensing on their CSI Web-based Forum on Wise Coastal Practices. It contains the REMOTE SENSING Handbook for Tropical Coastal Management (extracts).

  1. Methodologies for Defining Habitats.
  2. A Glossary of terms and acronyms regarding satellite remote sensing.
  3. links to a range of sites found particularly useful. REMOTE SENSING Handbook for Tropical Coastal Management (extracts). Coastal management sourcebooks. Mumby, P.J., Green, E., Edwards, A.J. and Clark, C., 1998. Cost-effectiveness of remote sensing for coastal management. In: A.J. Edwards (Editor), Remote Sensing Handbook for tropical coastal environments. UNESCO, pp.

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CRC brochure

Established capabilities of remote sensing. (1.7 MB PDF)

Coastal and near shore environments have been the focus of remote sensing activities for more than 25 years. The following list of environmental characteristics are regularly monitored using various forms of remote sensing:

  • land cover and land use in coastal areas
  • extent and composition of wetland (mangrove and saltmarsh)
  • vegetation density and biomass
Water Surface
  • roughness of sea surface
  • extent and type of an algal bloom
  • extent of an oil spill
Water Column
  • extent of dissolved and particulate organic matter
  • extent of suspended sediments (inorganic matter)
  • extent of algal pigments (providing biomass and algal concentration)
  • transparency and vertical attenuation of light
  • bathymetry and seabed relief
Underwater Substrate
  • type of substrate (such as sand, mud, seagrass, macroalgae and coral)
  • condition and abundance of seagrass
  • condition of coral

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