Potter, C. and Sukanna, T., 0000. Remote sensing of damage inflicted on coastal wetlands of southern Louisiana from tropical storms.
Shoreline and wetland loss in Louisiana threatens the future of the state’s economy, which is heavily dependent on coastal activities. This study builds on previous satellite remote sensing studies over the Mississippi Delta region to make increasingly detailed assessments of damage inflicted on coastal wetlands of southern Louisiana from tropical storms of different categories. To begin to identify and characterize coastal wetland damage from Hurricanes Katrina (Category 5 in 2005) and Gustav (Category 2 in 2008), Potter and Amer (2020) used a multiband-subtraction methodology developed by Amer, Kolker, and Muscietta (2017) that calculates a Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) from Landsat Operational Land Imager images. Analysis of biweekly Landsat NDWI images between the years 2000 and 2011 for the Mississippi River Delta study region suggested that there have been increases in water coverage (and corresponding losses of wetland coverage) over most of the marsh shorelines facing the Gulf of Mexico across the Barataria Basin. The extensive erosion of marshland edges in northern Barataria Bay has continued from 2013 to 2022. Oiling from the Deepwater Horizon spill event in 2010 has contributed to high erosion rates observed after recent tropical storms in Barataria Bay. The combination of Landsat NDWI trend mapping with high-resolution image segmentation of marshland edges and interior features indicates that different types of biophysical damage inflicted on coastal wetlands of southeastern Louisiana from tropical storms can be characterized using this combination of satellite and aerial remote sensing.