OJMH  Vol.3 No.4 , October 2013
Remote Monitoring of Surfaces Wetted for Dust Control on the Dry Owens Lakebed, California
Extensive dust control on the dry Owens Lake mainly uses constructed basins that are flooded with shallow depths of fresh water. This dust control is mandated by law as a minimum percent of the area of each individual wetting basin. Wetted surfaces are evaluated for area and degree of wetness using the shortwave infrared (SWIR) band of Landsat TM, or similar earth observation satellite sensor. The SWIR region appropriate for these measurements lies within the electromagnetic spectrum between about 1.5 and 1.8 μm wavelengths. A threshold value for Landsat TM5 band 5 reflectance of 0.19 was found to conform with surfaces having a threshold for adequate wetting at a nascent point where rapid drying would occur following loss of capillary connection with groundwater. This threshold is robust and requires no atmospheric correction for the effects of aerosol scatter and attenuation as long as the features on the image appear clear. Monthly monitoring of surface wetting has proven accurate, verifiable and repeatable using these methods. This threshold can be calibrated for any Earth observation satellite that records the appropriate SWIR region. The monitoring program is expected to provide major input for the final phase of the dust control program that will have a focus to conserve water and resources.

Cite this paper
D. P. Groeneveld and D. D. Barz, "Remote Monitoring of Surfaces Wetted for Dust Control on the Dry Owens Lakebed, California," Open Journal of Modern Hydrology, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2013, pp. 241-252. doi: 10.4236/ojmh.2013.34028.

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