Continuous Monitoring of the Flooding Dynamics in the Albufera Wetland (Spain) by Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 Datasets

Carmela Cavallo, Maria Nicolina Papa , Massimiliano Gargiulo, Guillermo Palau-Salvador, Paolo Vezza, Giuseppe Ruello
Remote sensing

Satellite data are very useful for the continuous monitoring of ever-changing environments, such as wetlands. In this study, we investigated the use of multispectral imagery to monitor the winter evolution of land cover in the Albufera wetland (Spain), using Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 datasets. With multispectral data, the frequency of observation is limited by the possible presence of clouds. To overcome this problem, the data acquired by the two missions, Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2, were jointly used, thus roughly halving the revisit time. The varied types of land cover were grouped into four classes: (1) open water, (2) mosaic of water, mud and vegetation, (3) bare soil and (4) vegetated soil. The automatic classification of the four classes was obtained through a rule-based method that combined the NDWI, MNDWI and NDVI indices. Point information, provided by geo-located ground pictures, was spatially extended with the help of a very high-resolution image (GeoEye-1). In this way, surfaces with known land cover were obtained and used for the validation of the classification method. The overall accuracy was found to be 0.96 and 0.98 for Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2, respectively. The consistency evaluation between Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 was performed in six days, in which acquisitions by both missions were available. The observed dynamics of the land cover were highly variable in space. For example, the presence of the open water condition lasted for around 60–80 days in the areas closest to the Albufera lake and progressively decreased towards the boundaries of the park. The study demonstrates the feasibility of using moderate-resolution multispectral images to monitor land cover changes in wetland environments.