Classification of shallow sea beds – a pilot study east of Gräsö

Shallow sea beds are often characterized by high biodiversity and variation, which need to be restored or maintained by continued prudent use. With respect to the Swedish environmental goals, consideration should be given, in connection with fishing, shipping and other uses of seas and water areas, as well as construction and other development in coastal and archipelago areas, to the productive capacity, biological diversity, natural and cultural assets and outdoor recreation assets of the water areas. These considerations require knowledge and information about the status of the subsurface environment and the need for mapping of these areas has increased dramatically. Existing field investigation programs at different organisations and authorities have provided invaluable information about the sub surface environment. However, this information is based on a limited, both in time and space, number of investigated sites. Including remote sensing data in the monitoring programs could strengthen the information and knowledge retrieved. During the last two years we have investigated the possibility to use high resolution satellite data for mapping of shallow sea beds in the coastal zone of the municipality of Norrköping. The task is difficult and we have found clear limitations in the technique, related to the limited depth penetration capabilities and light extinction in turbid water. However, the possibilities are also obvious and have been defined, and we believe that remote sensing could be a tool to increase the knowledge about the subsurface environment significantly.

The general goal is to develop methods to derive information about the subsurface environment, using high resolution satellite data that will facilitate the environmental work and decision making for a number of authorities.
The goal during 2008 was to collect high resolution satellite data in May and August.  The goal during 2009 would then be to investigate if the earlier results can be repeated in another area with slightly different properties and to further evaluate if and how the methodology could serve as an important/cost effective contribution in the ongoing environmental work along the coast of Sweden, for the different municipalities, counties and SEPA. The water east of Gräsö is clearer compared to the Jonsberg archipelago in Norrköping, which should increase the depth penetration and classification possibilities.
The results will be evaluated using field data collected during 2006 and 2008. Additionally, we plan to make a comparison of the results with a EUNIS modelling of marine habitats that has been performed on the Gräsö-Singö area in 2008.

Contact information

Vattenfall Power Consultant AB: 
Petra Philipson, 08-739 59 33,
County of Uppsala:
Erik Törnblom, 018-19 53 47,
County of Stockholm:
Ingrid Nordeman, 08-785 41 76,
Board of fisheries:
Ulf Bergström, 0173-464 85,
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency:
Cecilia Lindblad, 08-698 12 95,



Senast uppdaterad: 29 maj 2009