Marine Systems & Ocean Technology

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 166–177 | Cite as

A regional algorithm for investigating the Patos Lagoon coastal plume using Aqua/MODIS and oceanographic data

  • Juliana Costi
  • Bruno Correa Moraes
  • Wiliam Correa Marques


Located in the south of Brazil, the Patos Lagoon is the world’s largest choked lagoon. The extensive mud deposits that surround its estuary indicate a substantial transport of suspended matter to the continental shelf by its plume. This study aims to develop a regional algorithm for estimating the total suspended matter of the Patos Lagoon coastal plume using remote sensing data combined with oceanographic measurements. We develop a polynomial correlating total suspended matter with the reflectance of the 667-nm-centered band of the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), aboard the Aqua satellite. We use the satellite-based estimates to investigate the development and fate of the plume and to quantify the exchange processes between the estuary and the coastal zone. The seasonal averaged total amount of suspend matter exported by the plume ranged between values in the order of 106 and 107 ton. The plume shows a residual displacement to the south of the estuary mouth, though it can be transiently displaced northwards under the influence of strong southerly winds. The river discharge determines the plume’s suspended matter transport, whereas the wind shapes its form and determines its spreading. The plume’s variability shows well-marked cycles with semi-annual and quasi-annual frequencies, which could be identified by EOF and wavelet analyses.


Coastal dynamics Sediment transport Ocean color 



The authors are grateful to: the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) under contracts: 456292/2013-6 and 305885/2013-8, and to the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) under contract: 77/2010 CII/CGPE/DPB/CAPES. Further acknowledgments go to the Brazilian National Water Agency and to the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for supplying the fluvial discharge and wind datasets, respectively; and to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for maintaining and distributing the MODIS/Aqua dataset. Although some data were taken from governmental databases, this paper is not necessarily representative of the views of the government.


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Copyright information

© Sociedade Brasileira de Engenharia Naval 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juliana Costi
    • 1
  • Bruno Correa Moraes
    • 2
  • Wiliam Correa Marques
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Mathematics, Statistics and PhysicsFederal University of Rio GrandeRio GrandeBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of OceanographyFederal University of Rio GrandeRio GrandeBrazil

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