Remote Sensing of Suspended Sediment Discharge into the Western Gulf of Maine during the April 1987 100-Year Flood


  • Richard P. Stumpf
  • Peter M. Goldschmidt


AVHRR, continental shelf, sediment transport, plume


In early April 1987, heavy rainfall produced record floods in several Maine rivers. The suspended sediment discharge into the western Gulf of Maine during this event was identified using NOAA-9 and NOAA-10 Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data from March 29 to April 14. The satellite images were processed to obtain water reflectances corrected for atmospheric interference. Sediment concentrations were estimated from the reflectances using relationships previously calibrated for other estuaries, owing to the lack of in situ data on such episodic events in Maine. The sediment plumes showed a westward movement upon reaching the Gulf of Maine. The remotely sensed observations indicate that 10 metric tons of fine-grained sediments were carried onto the continental shelf in the largest plume, that from the Kennebec-Androscoggin river system.