Author(s): Rossella Belloni; Claudia Adduce; Federico Falcini; Vittorio Ernesto Brando
Keywords: Remote sensing; River Plumes; Sediment Connectivity
Abstract: Connectivity describes the efficiency of material transfer between the components of a system. The definition of these components varies from one discipline to another and in relation to the material under consideration. Specifically, in this study, a spatio-temporal analysis of river plume dispersal in the area of the Po River prodelta (northern Adriatic Sea, Italy) was performed to investigate the degree of sediment connectivity of the river-sea system. The analysis was carried out coupling high-resolution multispectral satellite data from the Copernicous Sentinel-2 mission, with in situ measurements of the main environmental forcings affecting sediment dynamics in the study area. On this purpose, wind and water river discharge data were used to evaluate how streamflow and meteo-marine conditions affect the overall structure of river plumes, and therefore river-sea system connectivity. Although with some intrinsic limitations, the analysis showed the good potential of high-resolution remotely sensed data to capture the main features of sediment dynamics, and therefore their relevance for a better understanding of the processes that govern sediment connectivity in coastal area. In particular, the analysis showed plumes morphologies with moderate to high spatiotemporal variabilities and confirmed the major role of wind and river discharge in affecting their overall structure.