Integration of In Situ Radon Modeling with High Resolution Aerial Remote Sensing for Mapping and Quantifying Local to Regional Flow and Transport of Submarine Groundwater Discharge from Coastal Aquifers

Wednesday, 16 December 2015: 17:15
3018 (Moscone West)
Craig R Glenn1, Joseph J. Kennedy1, Henrieta Dulaiova1, Jacque L Kelly2, Paul G Lucey3, Eunhee Lee4 and Joseph Fackrell5, (1)University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Honolulu, HI, United States, (2)Georgia Southern University, Department of Geology and Geography, Statesboro, GA, United States, (3)Hawaii Inst Geophys & Planetol, Honolulu, HI, United States, (4)Korea Institute of Geoscience & Mineral Research, Daejeon, South Korea, (5)University of Hawaii at Manoa, Geology and Geophysics, Honolulu, HI, United States
Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is a principal conduit for huge volumes of fresh groundwater loss and is a key transport mechanism for nutrient and contaminant pollution to coastal zones worldwide. However, the volumes and spatially and temporally variable nature of SGD is poorly known and requires rapid and high-resolution data acquisition at the scales in which it is commonly observed. Airborne thermal infrared (TIR) remote sensing, using high-altitude manned aircraft and low-altitude remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or "Drones") are uniquely qualified for this task, and applicable wherever 0.1°C temperature contrasts exist between discharging and receiving waters. We report on the use of these technologies in combination with in situ radon model studies of SGD volume and nutrient flux from three of the largest Hawaiian Islands. High altitude manned aircraft results produce regional (~300m wide x 100s km coastline) 0.5 to 3.2 m-resolution sea-surface temperature maps accurate to 0.7°C that show point-source and diffuse flow in exquisite detail. Using UAVs offers cost-effective advantages of higher spatial and temporal resolution and instantaneous deployments that can be coordinated simultaneously with any ground-based effort. We demonstrate how TIR-mapped groundwater discharge plume areas may be linearly and highly correlated to in situ groundwater fluxes. We also illustrate how in situ nutrient data may be incorporated into infrared imagery to produce nutrient distribution maps of regional worth. These results illustrate the potential for volumetric quantification and up-scaling of small- to regional-scale SGD. These methodologies provide a tremendous advantage for identifying and differentiating spring-fed, point-sourced, and/or diffuse groundwater discharge into oceans, estuaries, and streams. The integrative techniques are also important precursors for developing best-use and cost-effective strategies for otherwise time-consuming in situ studies, and represent a substantial new asset for land use and coastal zone research and management.