Detecting trend and seasonal changes in bathymetry derived from HICO imagery: A case study of Shark Bay, Western Australia

Rodrigo Garcia, Peter Fearns, L.I.W. Mckinna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) aboard the International Space Station has offered for the first time a dedicated space-borne hyperspectral sensor specifically designed for remote sensing of the coastal environment. However, several processing steps are required to convert calibrated top-of-atmosphere radiances to the desired geophysical parameter(s). These steps add various amounts of uncertainty that can cumulatively render the geophysical parameter imprecise and potentially unusable if the objective is to analyze trends and/or seasonal variability. This research presented here has focused on: (1) atmospheric correction of HICO imagery; (2) retrieval of bathymetry using an improved implementation of a shallow water inversion algorithm; (3) propagation of uncertainty due to environmental noise through the bathymetry retrieval process; (4) issues relating to consistent geo-location of HICO imagery necessary for time series analysis, and; (5) tide height corrections of the retrieved bathymetric dataset. The underlying question of whether a temporal change in depth is detectable above uncertainty is also addressed. To this end, nine HICO images spanning November 2011 to August 2012, over the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, Western Australia, were examined. The results presented indicate that precision of the bathymetric retrievals is dependent on the shallow water inversion algorithm used. Within this study, an average of 70% of pixels for the entire HICO-derived bathymetry dataset achieved a relative uncertainty of less than ± 20%. A per-pixel t-test analysis between derived bathymetry images at successive timestamps revealed observable changes in depth to as low as 0.4 m. However, the present geolocation accuracy of HICO is relatively poor and needs further improvements before extensive time series analysis can be performed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-205
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2014
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Detecting trend and seasonal changes in bathymetry derived from HICO imagery: A case study of Shark Bay, Western Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this