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Question:

How is Landsat 8’s Coastal/Aerosol band (Band 1) used?

Answer:

Landsat 8’s Band 1 (0.4333-0.453 µm) is useful for imaging shallow water, and tracking fine particles like dust and smoke.

Since water absorbs and scatters light, oceans and lakes tend to look dark or lack detail on satellite images, especially in the murky waters near coastlines. Band 1 allows for coastal water and ocean color observation, as it reflects blues and violets, and displays subtle differences in the color of water — and these changes in color intensity can indicate what is mixed in the water.

Scientists have used the coastal band to monitor chlorophyll concentrations and suspended sediments in the water, as well as phytoplankton and algae blooms.

This band is also useful in estimating the concentration and tracking fine particles of aerosols such as smoke and haze in the atmosphere.

Landsat 8 “natural” color image using coastal/aerosol band 1 of Lake Erie near Toledo, Ohio. Image acquired August 1, 2014.
Figure 1. Landsat 8 “natural color" image using coastal/aerosol band 1 of Lake Erie near Toledo, Ohio.
Image acquired August 1, 2014.