Assessing the changes in the moisture/dryness of water cavity surfaces in imlili sebkha in southwestern morocco by using machine learning classification in google earth engine

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Remote Sensing, 2020, 12 (1)
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© 2020 by the authors. Imlili Sebkha is a stable and flat depression in southern Morocco that is more than 10 km long and almost 3 km wide. This region is mainly sandy, but its northern part holds permanent water pockets that contain fauna and flora despite their hypersaline water. Google Earth Engine (GEE) has revolutionized land monitoring analysis by allowing the use of satellite imagery and other datasets via cloud computing technology and server-side JavaScript programming. This work highlights the potential application of GEE in processing large amounts of satellite Earth Observation (EO) Big Data for the free, long-term, and wide spatio-temporal wet/dry permanent salt water cavities and moisture monitoring of Imlili Sebkha. Optical and radar images were used to understand the functions of Imlili Sebkha in discovering underground hydrological networks. The main objective of this work was to investigate and evaluate the complementarity of optical Landsat, Sentinel-2 data, and Sentinel-1 radar data in such a desert environment. Results show that radar images are not only well suited in studying desertic areas but also in mapping the water cavities in desert wetland zones. The sensitivity of these images to the variations in the slope of the topographic surface facilitated the geological and geomorphological analyses of desert zones and helped reveal the hydrological functions of Imlili Sebkha in discovering buried underground networks.
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