A Strategy for Estimating Nutrient Concentrations Using Remote Sensing Datasets and Hydrological Modeling

A Strategy for Estimating Nutrient Concentrations Using Remote Sensing Datasets and Hydrological Modeling

Vladimir J. Alarcon (Mississippi State University, USA) and William H. McAnally (Mississippi State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jaeis.2012010101
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Abstract

This paper presents a methodology for estimating nutrient concentrations of total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) through the use of hydrological modeling, remote sensing datasets, and nutrient export coefficients. The strategy is applied to the Upper Tombigbee watershed, located in the northern region of the states of Mississippi and Alabama, USA. USGS GIRAS (1986), NASA MODIS MOD12Q1 (2001-2004) land use datasets, and USGS-DEM topographical datasets were used to characterize the physiography of the watershed. TN and TP concentration values estimated using the methodology were compared to values reported in the literature.
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Methodology

Watershed Under Study

Water bodies in the Southeastern USA are subjected to loads of pollutants resulting from urban development, agriculture, and other human activities. Impairment of rivers in the region is related mainly to sediment and nutrient loads. Monitoring of water quality in the region’s water bodies, however, does not take place in a frequent basis due to costs associated with water quality surveys.

The Upper Tombigbee watershed is located in the states of Alabama and Mississippi in the Southern USA (Figure 1). The watershed drains approximately 13900 square kilometers and it is a main contributor of flow to the Mobile River, with an approximate average stream flow of 169 m3/s.

Figure 1.

Watershed under study. Upper Tombigbee watershed, located in the northern Mississippi-Alabama region (USA)

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