Multi-temporal dynamics of suspended particulate matter in a macro-tidal river plume (the Gironde) as observed by satellite data
The Gironde River plume area is unique in terms of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) dynamics. Multiple factors contribute to the variations of SPM at multiple time scales, from river outputs to wind stress, currents and tidal cycles. The formation and evolution of the Maximum Turbidity Zone (MTZ) inside the estuary also plays a significant role. Thus, detailed analyses and monitoring of the region is important for better understanding the mechanisms governing the turbid plume dynamics, for proper future management and monitoring ofSPM export from the estuary to the coastal ocean. In this study we use an unprecedented volume of satellite data to capture and better understand the dynamics of the river plume. We combine two types of satellite information in order to achieve these goals: data collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) sensors. The integrated information allows accounting for multiple time scales, i.e. from seasonal to diurnal cycles. We show and parameterize the overall effects of river discharge rates over the plume extension. Seasonal variations are also analyzed and an overall relationship between river discharge rates and plume magnitude is computed. For the first time, we clearly observe and explain the diurnal cycle of SPM dynamics in the river plume. Despite the limited capabilities of the SEVIRI sensor, geostationary data was successfully used to derive such information and results similar to in-situ datasets were obtained. The same patterns are observed, with significant increase in SPM plume dur- ing spring/ebb tide periods. Results from our study can be further used to refine sediment transport models and to gain a better perspective on the ecological implications of the sediment output in the continental shelf area.