WATERLINE DETECTION AND MONITORING IN THE GERMAN WADDEN SEA USING HIGH RESOLUTION SATELLITE-BASED RADAR MEASUREMENTS
- DLR, Maritime Security Lab, 28201 Bremen, Germany
Keywords: North Sea, Wadden Sea, bathymetry, coastal processes, remote sensing, radar satellites
Abstract. High resolution TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X as well as Sentinel-1 remote sensing Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data are used to determine and monitor the waterline in the Wadden Sea. In this very unique and dynamic coastal region in the southeastern North Sea, tidal flats extend several kilometers away from the coast during low tide with features like tidal inlets and sand banks. Under the influence of tidal water currents transporting large amounts of eroded material, inlets and sand banks move over time; heavy storms can even cause large variations in their extensions in merely a few hours. Observation of these obstacles is crucial for maritime security as high ship traffic is caused by the ports of Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Wilhelmshaven and others. Conventional monitoring campaigns with ships or airplanes are economically expensive and can only provide limited coverage. We present an automatic algorithm with Near Real-Time capability for extracting the waterline at the time of recording from SAR images, which allows for a fast and large scale determination of changes in coastal outlines. The comparison of recent acquisitions of TerraSAR-X and Sentinel-1 to bathymetry data of the Elbe estuary obtained in 2010 reveals significant changes in tidal flat structures.