Land Cover Change on the Western Louisiana Coast: A Comparative Analysis of Hurricanes Rita and Harvey

Authors: Adelaide Kellett*, Pennsylvania State University, Andrew Patterson*, Pennsylvania State University
Topics: Physical Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Marine and Coastal Resources
Keywords: hurricane, hazard, risk, code, R-Studio, Louisiana, flood, sea level change
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Analysis was conducted on land cover change as a result of Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Harvey using Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 data, respectively. Data was taken before and after each storm, and was used to make NDVI and NDWI images, which were compared before and after each hurricane hit. The differences in NDVI and NDWI were compiled into maps and histograms showing the overall loss of vegetation and increase in water coverage after each hurricane. Results showed that water coverage increases corresponded nearly exactly with vegetation losses, although some errors were unavoidable due to Landsat 7 scan lines, cloud coverage, and time lapse in between the images analyzed. In an effort to account for differences in vegetation loss and water coverage due to time lapse, we also analyzed local soil moisture data from NASA Giovanni for the time between images. This revealed that soil was under 20% moisture for the time between the images used for Hurricane Rita, and suggested that vegetation may have been under stress during this time period. For Hurricane Harvey, the soil moisture stayed above 50% for the whole period, so it is unlikely that vegetation was affected much by a lack of water.

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