A Strategy for the Assessment of a Dynamic Surface Water Extent Essential Climate Variable derived from Landsat

Monday, 15 December 2014
John W. Jones, USGS Eastern Geographic Science Center, Reston, VA, United States
To meet broad scientific and resource management needs the USGS has conceived and is developing a Landsat-based, Dynamic Surface Water Extent (DSWE) essential climate variable (ECV). A strategy that combines qualitative, quantitative and applied evaluation of the DSWE has been devised to refine a prototype product and to document DSWE ECV characteristics for potential users. The first phase of production and characterization will be limited to the United States and its territories. Given this scope, sixty eight Landsat path/row locations across the lower 48 states, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico were selected for qualitative assessment of the DSWE. These qualitative assessments are quickly completed through comparison of the DSWE with existing geospatial databases. Rigorous assessment of DSWE uncertainty is being achieved through various statistical comparisons of surface water extent measured over subareas of Landsat scenes with surface water extent derived in a systematic fashion from various airborne and satellite remote sensing systems. Additional research is aimed at developing most cost-efficient means of generating those evaluation data from the aforementioned remote sensed data as well as in-situ sensors and citizen science contributions. At the same time, the utility of prototype DSWE data for various science and resource applications is being examined by targeted users in other government agencies and Universities.