ZONATION OF SUBALPINE LAKES BASED ON REMOTELY SENSED WATER QUALITY PARAMETERS
SIMILE is an INTERREG Italy-Switzerland project that aims to preserve water quality of the subalpine lakes Como, Lugano and Maggiore (Northern Italy), through an integrated innovative monitoring system. For this purpose, satellite images are processed to map and monitor Chlorophyll-a (CHL-a), Total Suspended Solids (TSM) and Lake Water Surface Temperature (LWST). This study combines these remotely sensed water quality parameters (WPQs) maps, produced for the SIMILE project during 2019–2020, to propose and discuss a zonation approach that can support the monitoring of the study lakes through the analysis of spatial and temporal dynamics of the selected parameters. The approach consists in performing a cluster analysis on a combined sample of WQPs maps, on a monthly basis, for each lake; then the different lake clusters are compared over time, through time series analysis of the WQPs patterns. Finally, the clusters patterns are aggregated over time to map the lakes’ areas that have experienced higher or lower WQPs values during 2019–2020. The results show a high spatial variability for the lakes under study, both during the different seasons and years; a North-South gradient has been identified for all WQPs pattern, requiring for further investigation.