Aquatic Sciences

, 81:27 | Cite as

Resolving biogeochemical processes in lakes using remote sensing

  • Vincent NouchiEmail author
  • Tiit Kutser
  • Alfred Wüest
  • Beat Müller
  • Daniel Odermatt
  • Theo Baracchini
  • Damien Bouffard
Research Article


Remote sensing helps foster our understanding of inland water processes allowing a synoptic view of water quality parameters. In the context of global monitoring of inland waters, we demonstrate the benefit of combining in-situ water analysis, hydrodynamic modelling and remote sensing for investigating biogeochemical processes. This methodology has the potential to be used at global scales. We take the example of four Landsat-8 scenes acquired by the OLI sensor and MODIS-Aqua imagery over Lake Geneva (France—Switzerland) from spring to early summer 2014. Remotely sensed data suggest a strong temporal and spatial variability during this period. We show that combining the complementary spatial, spectral and temporal resolutions of these sensors allows for a comprehensive characterization of estuarine, littoral and pelagic near-surface features. Moreover, by combining in-situ measurements, biogeochemical analysis and hydrodynamic modelling with remote sensing data, we can link these features to river intrusion and calcite precipitation processes, which regularly occur in late spring or early summer. In this context, we propose a procedure that can be used to monitor whiting events in temperate lakes worldwide.


Landsat-8 MODIS-Aqua Inland waters Remote sensing Calcification Whiting Global scale monitoring In-situ measurements 



This work was supported by the Margaretha Kamprad Chair at EPFL and by the Fondation pour l’Etude des Eaux du Léman (FEEL) on Lake Geneva. Finally, we acknowledge Carole Lebreton for her kind support with the configuration of the MODIS processing chain and for Brockmann Consult for operating and providing access to the Calvalus cluster computer system. In-situ profiles at SHL2 were provided by the Commission International pour la Protection des Eaux du Leman (CIPEL), INRA CARRTEL Thonon les Bains, and the Information System of the SOERE OLA ( developed by the Eco-Informatique group of INRA. Finally, we acknowledge the Federal Office for the environment (FOEN) for providing National River Monitoring and Survey Programme (NADUF) dataset at PS available at


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physics of Aquatic Systems Laboratory, Margaretha Kamprad ChairEPFL-ENAC-IEE-APHYSLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Remote Sensing and Marine OpticsEstonian Marine Institute University of TartuTallinnEstonia
  3. 3.Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and TechnologySurface Waters, Research and ManagementKastanienbaumSwitzerland
  4. 4.Odermatt & Brockmann GmbHZurichSwitzerland

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