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Monitoring of Calcite precipitation in hardwater lakes with multi-spectral remote sensing archives

Heine, Iris Elisabeth; Brauer, Achim; Heim, Birgit; Itzerott, Sibylle; Kasprzak, Peter; Kienel, Ulrike; Kleinschmit, Birgit

Calcite precipitation is a common phenomenon in calcium-rich hardwater lakes during spring and summer, but the number and spatial distribution of lakes with calcite precipitation is unknown. This paper presents a remote sensing based method to observe calcite precipitation over large areas, which are an important prerequisite for a systematic monitoring and evaluation of restoration measurements. We use globally archived satellite remote sensing data for a retrospective systematic assessment of past multi-temporal calcite precipitation events. The database of this study consists of 205 data sets that comprise freely available Landsat and Sentinel 2 data acquired between 1998 and 2015 covering the Northeast German Plain. Calcite precipitation is automatically identified using the green spectra and the metric BGR area, the triangular area between the blue, green and red reflectance value. The validation is based on field measurements of CaCO3 concentrations at three selected lakes, Feldberger Haussee, Breiter Luzin and Schmaler Luzin. The classification accuracy (0.88) is highest for calcite concentrations ≥0.7 mg/L. False negative results are caused by the choice of a conservative classification threshold. False positive results can be explained by already increased calcite concentrations. We successfully transferred the developed method to 21 other hardwater lakes in Northeast Germany. The average duration of lakes with regular calcite precipitation is 37 days. The frequency of calcite precipitation reaches from single time detections up to detections nearly every year. False negative classification results and gaps in Landsat time series reduce the accuracy of frequency and duration monitoring, but in future the image density will increase by acquisitions of Sentinel-2a (and 2b). Our study tested successfully the transfer of the classification approach to Sentinel-2 images. Our study shows that 15 of the 24 lakes have at least one phase of calcite precipitation and all events occur between May and September. At the lakes Schmaler Luzin and Feldberger Haussee, we illustrated the influence of ecological restoration measures aiming at nutrient reduction in the lake water on calcite precipitation. Our study emphasizes the high variance of calcite precipitation in hardwater lakes: each lake has to be monitored individually, which is feasible using Landsat and Sentinel-2 time series.
Published in: Water, 10.3390/w9010015, MDPI