Today inland and coastal water quality needs to be monitored intensively, in particular in the industrialized world where often many regulations exist. Notwithstanding the growing need for environmental monitoring of these waters, less and less resources are available for in-situ monitoring. Therefore Earth Observation could be a very valuable tool to complement these in-situ measurements as it allows for systematic, synoptic observations. In some countries it can even provide a first source of information on water quality because no in situ monitoring is being performed because the remote location of the site or high cost associated with these measurements.
The Local Environmental Monitoring team of VITO utilizes manned airborne, UAV and satellite data to provide information on inland and coastal water quality. Research has focused on atmospheric correction including adjacency effects and the estimation of total suspended matter for highly turbid waters.
Map showing surface Total Suspended Sediment concentrations in an area with extensive dredging activities