Monitoring coastal water body health with Sentinel-2 MSI imagery

M. Lock*, Neil Saintilan, I. van Duren, A. Skidmore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


The Australian ‘New South Wales Estuary health assessment and biodiversity monitoring program’ has set state-wide targets for estuary health. A selection of water bodies is being monitored by in situ chlorophyll a concentration and turbidity measurements, indicators for water quality. We investigate whether the current monitoring program can benefit from the use of remote sensing derived data, analyzing chlorophyll a and water clarity estimates by the C2RCC and ACOLITE products based on Sentinel-2 MSI imagery for three lakes along the New South Wales coast. The C2RCC and ACOLITE products were partly successful in predicting chlorophyll a concentration and water clarity. Estimates based on Sentinel-2 MSI imagery were in the range of in situ measurements. However, results varied across years and lakes, and a significant correlation could not be found in every case. It is likely that the physical differences between the systems, such as nutrient input, tannins, and suspended algae/sediment matrix, influence the output of the algorithm. This may preclude the application of a ‘one size fits all’ monitoring approach, given the importance of local ecological phenomena in both influencing remote sensing observations and the nature of appropriate targets. However, the design of a monitoring program that incorporates remote sensing provides a way forward.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1734
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalRemote sensing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2023


  • estuary health
  • indicators
  • monitoring
  • remote sensing
  • turbidity
  • water quality


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