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TitleWetland hydroperiod change along the upper Columbia River floodplain, Canada, 1984 to 2019
AuthorHopkinson, C; Fuoco, B; Grant, T; Bayley, S E; Brisco, B; Macdonald, R
SourceRemote Sensing vol. 12, issue 24, 4084, 2020 p. 1-20, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20200627
PublisherMDPI AG
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf; html
ProvinceBritish Columbia
AreaColumbia River; Canada
Lat/Long WENS-117.1225 -115.4075 51.6725 50.4294
SubjectsScience and Technology; LANDSAT; Upper Columbia River Floodplain; Climate change
Illustrationscross-plots; location maps; graphs; diagrams
Released2020 12 14
AbstractIncreasing air temperatures and changing hydrological conditions in the mountainous Kootenay Region of British Columbia, Canada are expected to affect floodplain wetland extent and function along the Columbia River. The objective of this study was to determine the seasonally inundated hydroperiod for a floodplain section (28.66 km2) of the Upper Columbia River wetlands complex using time series satellite image observations and binary open water mask extraction. A mid pixel resolution (30 m) optical satellite image time series of 61 clear sky scenes from the Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Operational Land Imager (OLI) sensors were used to map temporal variations in floodplain open water wetland extent during the April to October hydrologically active season from 1984 to 2019 (35 years). The hydroperiod from the first 31 scenes (T1: 18 years) was compared to the second 30 (T2: 16 years) to identify changes in the permanent and seasonal open water bodies. The seasonal variation in open water extent and duration was similar across the two time periods but the permanent water body extent diminished by ~16% (or ~3.5% of the floodplain). A simple linear model (r2 = 0.87) was established to predict floodplain open water extent as a function of river discharge downstream of the case study area. Four years of Landsat Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS) data from 1992 to 1995 (12 scenes) were examined to evaluate the feasibility of extending the hydroperiod record back to 1972 using lower resolution (60 m) archive data. While the MSS hydroperiod produced a similar pattern of open water area to duration to the TM/OLI hydroperiod, small open water features were omitted or expanded due to the lower resolution. While MSS could potentially extend the TM/OLI hydroperiod record, this was not performed as the loss of features like the river channel diminished its value for change detection purposes. Radarsat 2 scenes from 2015 to 2019 were examined to evaluate the feasibility of continued mountain valley hydroperiod monitoring using higher spatial and temporal resolution sensors like the Radarsat Constellation Mission (RCM). From the available horizontal transmit/receive (HH) single polarization sample set (8 scenes), the hydroperiod pattern of open water extent to duration was similar to the longer Landsat time series and possessed greater feature detail, but it was significantly reduced in seasonal inundation area due to the systematic omission of open water areas containing emergent vegetation. However, accepting that differences exist in sensor-based hydroperiod attributes, the higher temporal resolution of RCM will be suited to mountain floodplain inundation monitoring and open water hydroperiod analysis.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This study focused on the floodplain wetlands along the Columbia River in the Kootenay Region of British Columbia, Canada. Researchers wanted to understand how changes in temperature and hydrological conditions affect these wetlands. They used satellite images to track the wetlands' water levels over 35 years, from 1984 to 2019. They divided this time period into two parts, T1 and T2.
The study found that seasonal variations in water levels remained consistent between T1 and T2. However, the permanent water bodies in the floodplain decreased by about 16% during this time. In simpler terms, the number of places with water all year round went down.
The researchers also created a model to predict floodplain water levels based on the river's water flow downstream.
Additionally, they examined older satellite images from 1992 to 1995 to see if they could track water levels even further back to 1972. They found that older images with lower resolution couldn't capture all the details.
Overall, this study is essential because it helps us understand how climate change and environmental factors impact these important wetlands. It provides valuable information for managing and preserving these ecosystems.

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