A 15-year evaluation of the Mississippi and Alabama coastline barrier islands, using Landsat satellite imagery
Theel, Ryan T.
The Mississippi and Alabama barrier islands are sensitive landforms that are affected by hurricanes, longshore currents, and available sediment, yet these effects are difficult to quantify with traditional ground-based surveying. In this study, Landsat satellite imagery was used to evaluate changes in barrier island area and centroid position from 1990 and 2005. When hurricanes are infrequent (1999?2003), barrier islands generally increased in total area and showed only moderate repositioning of their centroid locations. However, when hurricanes were frequent (1994?1999 and 2004?2005), barrier islands showed substantial decreases in area and dramatic repositioning of their island centroid locations. This was especially true following Hurricane Katrina (2005). From 1990 to 2005, the general movement of barrier islands was westerly and most islands experienced an overall reduction in area (-18%). The results of this research are similar to findings reported in the literature and illustrate the suitability of using Landsat imagery to study geomorphic changes.