Mapping Changes in Desert Pavement Surfaces of the Lower Colorado Desert of Southern California using Landsat Time Series Analysis

Christopher Potter, (doi: 10.23953/cloud.ijarsg.57)


Potential disturbance of desert soils from renewable energy development in southern California is receiving increasing attention due to potential impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. This study was designed to quantify and map, for the first time, changes in desert pavement surface area using 20 years of Landsat satellite image data across the Lower Colorado Desert. Landsat-derived maps of geomorphic surface classes from 1990 to 2014 for the Lower Colorado Desert area showed that a relatively stable area of around 1920 km2 was covered by well-developed desert pavements prior to 2014. Based on 2014 Landsat imagery, coverage of well-developed pavements within solar energy development boundaries of the Lower Colorado Desert area totaled to 421 km2, the majority of which (>82%) were located in eastern Riverside County. If disturbed as a result of construction activities, these desert pavements could become a source of dust from exposure of the underlying fine particle layer.


Landsat; Desert Pavements; Solar Energy Development; Lower Colorado Desert; DRECP

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