Accurate bathymetric information is fundamental to safe maritime navigation and infrastructure development in the coastal zone, but is expensive to acquire with traditional methods. Satellite-derived bathymetry (SDB) has the potential to produce bathymetric maps at dramatically reduced cost per unit area and physics-based radiative transfer model inversion methods have been developed for this purpose. This thesis demonstrates the potential of physics-based SDB in North American coastal waters. First the utility of Landsat-8 data for SDB in Canadian waters was demonstrated. Given the need for precise atmospheric correction (AC) for deriving robust ocean color products such as bathymetry, the performances of different AC algorithms were then evaluated to determine the most appropriate AC algorithm for deriving ocean colour products such as bathymetry. Subsequently, an approach to minimize AC error was demonstrated for SDB in a coastal environment in Florida Keys, USA. Finally, an ensemble approach based on multiple images, with acquisitions ranging from optimal to sub-optimal conditions, was demonstrated. Based on the findings of this thesis, it was concluded that: (1) Landsat-8 data hold great promise for physics-based SDB in coastal environments, (2) the problem posed by imprecise AC can be minimized by assessing and quantifying bias as a function of environmental factors, and then removing that bias in the atmospherically corrected images, from which bathymetry is estimated, and (3) an ensemble approach to SDB can produce results that are very similar to those obtained with the best individual image, but can be used to reduce time spent on pre-screening and filtering of scenes.
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Thesis advisor: Hedley, Nick
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