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National Surface Water Maps using Daily MODIS Satellite Data for the Conterminous United States, 2003?2019

October 6, 2021

Members from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patterns in the Landscape - Analyses of Cause and Effect (PLACE) team are releasing monthly surface water maps for the conterminous United States (U.S.) from 2003 through 2019 as 250-meter resolution geoTIFF files. The maps were produced using the Dynamic Surface Water Extent (DSWE) algorithm applied to daily Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imagery (DSWEmod) (Soulard et al., 2021) - see associated items. The DSWEmod model classifies the landscape (i.e., each MODIS pixel) into different classes of surface water based on quantified levels of confidence, including, i) high-confidence surface water (class 1), ii) moderate-confidence surface water (class 2), iii) potential wetland (class 3), and iv) low-confidence water/wetland (class 4), as well as a not-water class (class 0) and a no-data class (class 9). This data release consists of a Parent Directory and 18 Child Items. The Parent Directory includes a zipped folder housing the complete monthly DSWEmod surface water maps for the conterminous United States from 2003 through 2019 represented in 17 multiband images, equating to one image for each year from 2003 through 2019. Each annual image - available as separate Child Items (n = 17) - consists of 12 bands, where each band value from 1-12 represents sequential months from January (Band 1) to December (Band 12). Such a structure allows for a user to download either the full time-series of DSWEmod products or a user-specified set of years. The DSWEmod surface water maps were used for a study conducted by the PLACE team quantifying seasonal and annual surface water trends within Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Level I and Level III Ecoregions (Omernik, 1987) across the U.S. from 2003 through 2019. The results from this study are also being released as a Child Item - Surface Water Trends for the Conterminous United States using monthly DSWEmod Surface Water Maps, 2003-2019. This portion of the data release includes a vector shapefile consisting of 85 polygons, delineating EPA Level III Ecoregions for the conterminous United States. For each Level III Ecoregion, we include attributes identifying, i) their respective Level I Ecoregion name and identification number, ii) quantified seasonal and annual mean water area and correlations with precipitation from the associated surface water trends study, iii) mean surface water extent statistics (mean, minimum, maximum, standard deviation, coefficient of variation, percent of ecoregion), and iv) seasonal and annual results from the Mann-Kendall statistical analysis. An associated manuscript, currently in review, will describe the methodology, results, and conclusions from this study.