Ali Al Maliki

Ministry of Science and Technology Iraq
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Change Detection and Impact of Climate Changes to Iraqi Southern Marshes Using Landsat 2 MSS, Landsat 8 OLI and Sentinel 2 MSI Data and GIS Applications

Marshes represent a unique ecosystem covering a large area of southern Iraq. In a major environmental disaster, the marshes of Iraq were drained, especially during the 1990s. Since then, droughts and the decrease in water imports from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers from Turkey and Iran have prevented them from regaining their former extent. The aim of this research is to extract the values of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) for the period 1977–2017 from Landsat 2 MSS (multispectral scanner), Landsat 8 OLI (operational land imager) and Sentinel 2 MSI (multi-spectral imaging mission) satellite images and use supervised classification to quantify land and water cover change. The results from the two satellites (Landsat 2 and Landsat 8) are compared with Sentinel 2 to determine the best tool for detecting changes in land and water cover. We also assess the potential impacts of climate change through the study of the annual average maximum temperature and precipitation in different areas in the marshes for the period 1981–2016. The NDVI analysis and image classification showed the degradation of vegetation and water bodies in the marshes, as vast areas of natural vegetation and agricultural lands disappeared and were replaced with barren areas. The marshes were influenced by climatic change, including rising temperature and the diminishing amount of precipitation during 1981–2016.

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