Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 91–96 | Cite as

Multisensor monitoring of plume dynamics in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea

  • Gade Martin 
  • Barale Vittorio 
  • Snaith Helen M. 
Special Feature


We used data from various space-borne sensors to monitor the marine ecosystem in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, at the Costa Dorada, between the City of Barcelona and the estuary of the river Ebro. The aim of this study was to demonstrate that the combination of different remote sensing data (acquired at different electromagnetic frequencies) allows for an improved monitoring system, in particular for a better monitoring of the marine ecosystem and, hence, a better coastal zone management. We present remote sensing data acquired by the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and the Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) aboard the Second European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS-2), and by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (Sea WiFS) on the SeaStar satellite. By combining the different data we are able to overcome specific drawbacks of the single sensors, like an insufficient temporal coverage, or a strong dependence on weather and daylight conditions.

Within the study area two main features have been selected as examples, which are well visible on many of the analysed images. The first one exhibits a higher load of chlorophyll-a and surface-active compounds and a lower sea surface temperature (SST), which is likely to be caused by the plume of the river Llobregat, southwest of Barcelona. It can clearly be seen from the imagery how the river plume is driven along the coast by the local currents. The second feature can be related to cooling water being released from a nuclear power plant and causing turbulence in the water body, which in turn gives rise to signatures visible on the ERS-SAR imagery.


Ebro Imgery Llobegat river 



Along-Track Scanning Radiometer


Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer


Coastal Zone Colour Scanner


European Remote Sensing Satellite


Synthetic Aperture Radar


Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor


Sea surface temperature


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Copyright information

© Opulus Press Uppsala 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gade Martin 
    • 1
  • Barale Vittorio 
    • 2
  • Snaith Helen M. 
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut für MeereskundeUniversität HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Environment and SustainabilityJoint Research Centre of the European CommissionIspraItalia
  3. 3.James Rennell DivisionSouthampton Oceanography CentreSouthamptonUK

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