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DSWEmod - The production of high-frequency surface water map composites from daily MODIS images

February 21, 2022

Optical satellite imagery is commonly used for monitoring surface water dynamics, but clouds and cloud shadows present challenges in assembling complete water time series. To test whether the daily revisit rate of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite imagery can reduce cloud obstruction and improve high-frequency surface water mapping, we compared map results derived from Landsat (30-m) and MODIS (250-m) data across the state of California for 2003–2019. We adapted the Dynamic Surface Water Extent (DSWE) model in Google Earth Engine to generate surface water map composites from MODIS imagery every 5, 10, 15, and 30 days, and compared products to monthly Landsat-based DSWE maps. Results for DSWEmod (DSWE MODIS) in California suggest that more than 5% data loss (cloud obstruction, etc.) was present in only 2% of the 15-day time series, as compared to 32% of the monthly Landsat DSWE time series. The five-day DSWEmod composites averaged 8.4% obscuration in the winter months. Area estimates derived from cloud-filtered MODIS and Landsat monthly products have the highest linear correlations compared to streamgage discharge records, suggesting that monthly scale analyses best explain the relationship between surface water area and general streamflow dynamics. Shorter-interval DSWEmod products have lower correlations but utility for understanding the timing of surface water peaks and past flood events.

Publication Year 2022
Title DSWEmod - The production of high-frequency surface water map composites from daily MODIS images
DOI 10.1111/1752-1688.12996
Authors Christopher E. Soulard, Eric Waller, Jessica J. Walker, Roy Petrakis, Britt Windsor Smith
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Index ID 70229156
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Geographic Science Center