Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The objective of this study was to use Landsat multispectral scanner (MSS) digital data in combination with concurrently collected in situ data for the assessment and mapping of water quality parameters within Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana and adjoining estuarine waters. The water quality parameters investigated were suspended solids and salinity. The approach required the collection of water quality samples by helicopter at 33 preselected sample sites within two hours of the overpass of the Landsat spacecraft. Statistical regression models were developed between the Landsat MSS data and each of the water quality parameter measurements. The regression models were extended to the entire study area for mapping the water quality parameters. The results included statistical summaries for the regression models and a series of coded gray maps corresponding to the digitally enhanced Landsat MSS data. A set of gray maps were produced for each of the water quality parameters, with one map representing one water class within each parameter. Based upon an analysis of the statistical results and the coded gray maps, the following conclusions were indicated: (1) Landsat MSS data provided a highly reliable method for mapping the distribution and spatial extent of suspended solids concentrations in the study area; (2) circulation patterns for suspended solids were clearly visible on the coded gray maps; and (3) the accuracy of using this type of Landsat analysis as a means of mapping salinity was doubtful.