Continental scale mapping of tidal flats across east Asia using the landsat archive

Murray, Nicholas J., Phinn, Stuart R., Clemens, Robert S., Roelfsema, Chris M., and Fuller, Richard A. (2012) Continental scale mapping of tidal flats across east Asia using the landsat archive. Remote Sensing, 4 (11). pp. 3417-3426.

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Tidal flats provide habitat for biodiversity, protection from storm surges and sea level rise, and a range of other ecosystem services. However, no simple method exists for mapping tidal flats over large (>1,000 km) extents, and consequently their global status and distribution remain poorly understood. Existing mapping methods are restricted to small areas with known tidal regimes because tidal flats are only fully exposed for a brief period around low tide. Here we present a method for mapping tidal flats over very large areas and demonstrate its utility by mapping the tidal flats of China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea. We (i) generated tide height predictions at the acquisition time of all Landsat Archive images of our study area using a validated regional tide model, (ii) selected suitable images acquired in the upper and lower 10% of the tidal range, (iii) converted high and low tide images to a land and water class image derived from the Normalized Differenced Water Index (NDWI) and, (iv) subtracted the high tide classified image from the low tide classified image, resulting in delineation of the tidal flat. Using this method, we mapped the tidal flats for 86.8% of the study area coastline (13,800 km). A confusion matrix for error assessment indicated an accuracy of >85% for the resulting tidal flat map. Our method enables coastal morphology to be mapped and monitored at continental scales, providing critical data to inform coastal adaptation measures for sea level rise, for monitoring coastal habitat loss and for developing ecosystem-based coastal conservation measures. © 2012 by the authors.

Item ID: 60306
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2072-4292
Keywords: Coastal wetland, Coastline, Delta, Intertidal flat, Land cover, Mudflat, Normalized differenced water index NDWI, Salt marsh
Copyright Information: © 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC LP100200418
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2023 02:10
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
09 ENGINEERING > 0909 Geomatic Engineering > 090905 Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961002 Natural Hazards in Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 10%
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