Author(s): Gibbons DE, Wukelic GE, Leighton JP, Doyle MJ
The possibility of using Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) thermal data to derive absolute temperature distributions in coastal waters that receive cooling effluent from a power plant is demonstrated. Landsat TM band 6 (thermal) data acquired on June 18, 1986, for the Diablo Canyon power plant in California were compared to ground truth temperatures measured at the same time. Higher-resolution band 5 (reflectance) data were used to locate power plant discharge and intake positions and identify locations of thermal pixels containing only water, no land. Local radiosonde measurements, used in LOWTRAN 6 adjustments for atmospheric effects, produced corrected ocean surface radiances that, when converted to temperatures, gave values within approximately 0.6 C of ground truth. A contour plot was produced that compared power plant plume temperatures with those of the ocean and coastal environment. It is concluded that Landsat can provide good estimates of absolute temperatures of the coastal power plant thermal plume. Moreover, quantitative information on ambient ocean surface temperature conditions (e.g., upwelling) may enhance interpretation of numerical model prediction.