WaterSat Imaging Spectrometer Experiment (WISE) for optically shallow and coastal waters assessment

Simon Bélanger1, Carlos Araujo2, Mathieu Cusson3, Christel Blot3, François P. Danhiez2, Julien Desrochers4, Yanick Gendreau5, Joshua P Harringmeyer6, Gabriela Ifimov7, Julien Laliberté5, Brigitte Légaré2, Romy Leger-Daigle2, Jérémie Lemarchand2, Raphael Mabit2, Jimmy Mayrand2, Soham Mukherjee2, Christian Nozais2, Raymond Soffer7, Sandra Velasquez5 and Matthew W. Weiser6, (1)University of Quebec at Rimouski UQAR, Biology, Chemistry and Geography ; AquaTel Research Lab, Rimouski, QC, Canada, (2)Université du Québec à Rimouski, Biology, Chemistry and Geography, Rimouski, QC, Canada, (3)Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Biology, Chicoutimi, QC, Canada, (4)CIDCO, Rimouski, QC, Canada, (5)Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Mont-Joli, QC, Canada, (6)Boston University, Dept. of Earth & Environment, Boston, United States, (7)National Research Council of Canada, Aerospace Division, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Advances in Earth Observation technologies, particularly hyperspectral remote sensing, can fill important gaps in the information needed about shallow coastal habitats, which are among the most productive ecosystems of the world oceans (e.g. eelgrass meadows, kelp forests, etc). The main objectives of this project were 1) to test the new WaterSAT Imaging Spectrometer Experiment (WISE), a cutting-edge hyperspectral camera developed specifically for monitoring aquatic environments, and 2) to build solid Canadian expertise and skills required to process and analyse hyperspectral imagery. We flew the WISE at 1000 and 3000 m altitude using a Twin Otter aircraft over the Manicouagan Peninsula (Québec, Canada) in August 2019. Ground spectral targets were placed in close proximity to the study site to calibrate the WISE data and provide quality assurance of the airborne data. The flight speed, sensor integration time and spectral averaging were set to obtain 144 bands in the VISNIR and ground sampling resolution of ~0.5 to 2-m. In order to assess our capability to retrieve the water depth, water column optical properties and bottom types in contrasting conditions (viewing-sun geometry, wind speed, water level), two sets of airborne hyperspectral imagery were obtained at high and low tides, respectively, covering an area of about 400 km2. Simultaneously, several teams were deployed at sea to collect in situ data (IOPs, AOPs, biogeochemical parameters, boundary conditions) needed for the development and validation of the inversion algorithms, including novel platforms designed to assess shallow waters. An airborne LiDAR survey was also performed at the end of the field campaign while conducting an optical experiment with various platforms (zodiacs, catamarans) and SCUBA divers deploying optical instrumentations fitted with video camera. The in situ data collection were be performed in close collaboration with international researchers and federal institutions: the Flight Research Laboratory of the National Research Council of Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada including the Canadian Hydrographic Service, as well as Defense Research Development Canada. An overview of the project fieldwork will be presented as well as a preliminary assessment of the WISE data quality (spectral and radiometric).