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Sensors (Basel). 2015 Apr 14;15(4):8732-48. doi: 10.3390/s150408732.

Segmentation and tracking of anticyclonic eddies during a submarine volcanic eruption using ocean colour imagery.

Author information

1
Instituto de Oceanografía y Cambio Global, Universidad de Las Palmas de G.C., Campus Universitario de Tafira, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. javier.marcello@ulpgc.es.
2
Instituto de Oceanografía y Cambio Global, Universidad de Las Palmas de G.C., Campus Universitario de Tafira, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. feugenio@dsc.ulpgc.es.
3
Departamento de Física, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. sheila.estrada103@doctorandos.ulpgc.es.
4
Instituto de Oceanografía y Cambio Global, Universidad de Las Palmas de G.C., Campus Universitario de Tafira, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. pablo.sangra@ulpgc.es.

Abstract

The eruptive phase of a submarine volcano located 2 km away from the southern coast of El Hierro Island started on October 2011. This extraordinary event provoked a dramatic perturbation of the water column. In order to understand and quantify the environmental impacts caused, a regular multidisciplinary monitoring was carried out using remote sensing sensors. In this context, we performed the systematic processing of every MODIS and MERIS and selected high resolution Worldview-2 imagery to provide information on the concentration of a number of biological, physical and chemical parameters. On the other hand, the eruption provided an exceptional source of tracer that allowed the study a variety of oceanographic structures. Specifically, the Canary Islands belong to a very active zone of long-lived eddies. Such structures are usually monitored using sea level anomaly fields. However these products have coarse spatial resolution and they are not suitable to perform submesoscale studies. Thanks to the volcanic tracer, detailed studies were undertaken with ocean colour imagery allowing, using the diffuse attenuation coefficient, to monitor the process of filamentation and axisymmetrization predicted by theoretical studies and numerical modelling. In our work, a novel 2-step segmentation methodology has been developed. The approach incorporates different segmentation algorithms and region growing techniques. In particular, the first step obtains an initial eddy segmentation using thresholding or clustering methods and, next, the fine detail is achieved by the iterative identification of the points to grow and the subsequent application of watershed or thresholding strategies. The methodology has demonstrated an excellent performance and robustness and it has proven to properly capture the eddy and its filaments.

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