Articles | Volume 16, issue 6
Research article
06 Jun 2012
Research article |  | 06 Jun 2012

Satellite remote sensing of water turbidity in Alqueva reservoir and implications on lake modelling

M. Potes, M. J. Costa, and R. Salgado

Abstract. The quality control and monitoring of surface freshwaters is crucial, since some of these water masses constitute essential renewable water resources for a variety of purposes. In addition, changes in the surface water composition may affect the physical properties of lake water, such as temperature, which in turn may impact the interactions of the water surface with the lower atmosphere.

The use of satellite remote sensing to estimate the water turbidity of Alqueva reservoir, located in the south of Portugal, is explored. A validation study of the satellite derived water leaving spectral reflectance is firstly presented, using data taken during three field campaigns carried out during 2010 and early 2011. Secondly, an empirical algorithm to estimate lake water surface turbidity from the combination of in situ and satellite measurements is proposed. Finally, the importance of water turbidity on the surface energy balance is tested in the form of a study of the sensitivity of a lake model to the extinction coefficient of water (estimated from turbidity), showing that this is an important parameter that affects the lake surface temperature.