Next Article in Journal
Integrating Physical and Topographic Information Into a Fuzzy Scheme to Map Flooded Area by SAR
Next Article in Special Issue
Short-term Influences on Suspended Particulate Matter Distribution in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Satellite and Model Observations
Previous Article in Journal
A Methodology to Validate the InSAR Derived Displacement Field of the September 7th, 1999 Athens Earthquake Using Terrestrial Surveying. Improvement of the Assessed Deformation Field by Interferometric Stacking
Previous Article in Special Issue
Validation and Variation of Upper Layer Thickness in South China Sea from Satellite Altimeter Data
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Sensors 2008, 8(7), 4135-4150; doi:10.3390/s8074135

Satellite Assessment of Bio-Optical Properties of Northern Gulf of Mexico Coastal Waters Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Department of Marine Science, The University of Southern Mississippi, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529, USA
Department of Marine Sciences, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 June 2008 / Revised: 18 June 2008 / Accepted: 6 July 2008 / Published: 10 July 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Remote Sensing)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3823 KB, uploaded 21 June 2014]   |  


The impacts of major tropical storms events on coastal waters include sediment resuspension, intense water column mixing, and increased delivery of terrestrial materials into coastal waters. We examined satellite imagery acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) ocean color sensor aboard the Aqua spacecraft following two major hurricane events: Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall on 29 August 2005, and Hurricane Rita, which made landfall on 24 September. MODIS Aqua true color imagery revealed high turbidity levels in shelf waters immediately following the storms indicative of intense resuspension. However, imagery following the landfall of Katrina showed relatively rapid return of shelf water mass properties to pre-storm conditions. Indeed, MODIS Aqua-derived estimates of diffuse attenuation at 490 nm (K_490) and chlorophyll (chlor_a) from mid-August prior to the landfall of Hurricane Katrina were comparable to those observed in mid-September following the storm. Regions of elevated K_490 and chlor_a were evident in offshore waters and appeared to be associated with cyclonic circulation (cold-core eddies) identified on the basis of sea surface height anomaly (SSHA). Imagery acquired shortly after Hurricane Rita made landfall showed increased water column turbidity extending over a large area of the shelf off Louisiana and Texas, consistent with intense resuspension and sediment disturbance. An interannual comparison of satellite-derived estimates of K_490 for late September and early October revealed relatively lower levels in 2005, compared to the mean for the prior three years, in the vicinity of the Mississippi River birdfoot delta. In contrast, levels above the previous three year mean were observed off Texas and Louisiana 7-10 d after the passage of Rita. The lower values of K_490 near the delta could be attributed to relatively low river discharge during the preceding months of the 2005 season. The elevated levels off Texas and Louisiana were speculated to be due to the presence of fine grain sediment or dissolved materials that remained in the water column following the storm, and may also have been associated with enhanced phytoplankton biomass stimulated by the intense vertical mixing and offshore delivery of shelf water and associated nutrients. This latter view was supported by observations of high chlor_a in association with regions of cyclonic circulation. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ocean color remote sensing; hurricanes; coastal water quality; K_490; chlorophyll; MODIS Aqua; Gulf of Mexico. Ocean color remote sensing; hurricanes; coastal water quality; K_490; chlorophyll; MODIS Aqua; Gulf of Mexico.

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Lohrenz, S.E.; Cai, W.-J.; Chen, X.; Tuel, M. Satellite Assessment of Bio-Optical Properties of Northern Gulf of Mexico Coastal Waters Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Sensors 2008, 8, 4135-4150.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sensors EISSN 1424-8220 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top