Juan G. Loaiza, Jesús Gabriel Rangel-Peraza, Sergio Alberto Monjardín-Armenta, Yaneth A. Bustos-Terrones, Erick R. Bandala, Antonio J. Sanhouse-García, Sergio A. Rentería-Guevara

Surface Water Quality Assessment through Remote Sensing Based on the Box–Cox Transformation and Linear Regression

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry

A methodology to estimate surface water quality using remote sensing is presented based on Landsat satellite imagery and in situ measurements taken every six months at four separate sampling locations in a tropical reservoir from 2015 to 2019. The remote sensing methodology uses the Box–Cox transformation model to normalize data on three water quality parameters: total organic carbon (TOC), total dissolved solids (TDS), and chlorophyll a (Chl-a). After the Box–Cox transformation, a mathematical model was generated for every parameter using multiple linear regression to correlate normalized data and spectral reflectance from Landsat 8 imagery. Then, significant testing was conducted to discard spectral bands that did not show a statistically significant response (α = 0.05) from the different water quality models. The r2 values achieved for TOC, TDS, and Chl-a water quality models after the band discrimination process were found 0.926, 0.875, and 0.810, respectively, achieving a fair fitting to real water quality data measurements. Finally, a comparison between estimated and measured water quality values not previously used for model development was carried out to validate these models. In this validation process, a good fit of 98% and 93% was obtained for TDS and TOC, respectively, whereas an acceptable fit of 81% was obtained for Chl-a. This study proposes an interesting alternative for ordered and standardized steps applied to generate mathematical models for the estimation of TOC, TDS, and Chl-a based on water quality parameters measured in the field and using satellite images.

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