The Relationship Between Suspended Sediment Concentration and Remotely Sensed Spectral Radiance: A Review


  • P.J. Curran
  • E.M.M. Novo


Suspended sediment concentration, remote sensing, statistical relationship, environmental effects, estimation


Information on the concentration of suspended sediments in coastal waters is necessary for the understanding and management of the coastal environment. Traditionally, suspended sediment concentration (SSC) has been measured by time-consuming and costly boat surveys which allow the accurate measurement of sse for single points in space and time. Remote sensing from airborne and spaceborne sensors has proved to be a useful adjunct to such surveys as it provides an instantaneous and synoptic view of sediments that would otherwise be unavailable. The key to the success of remote sensing in such a role is the strong positive relationship that exists between SSC and remotely sensed spectral radiance (L(λ)). This review provides an introduction to this SSC/L(λ) relationship; exploring its physical basis, its robustness under a range of environmental conditions and its utility as a tool for estimation. It is concluded that future research on this relationship should concentrate upon the suppression of environmental influences and the optimum sampling of SSC.

Author Biographies

P.J. Curran

E.M.M. Novo