Among water quality parameters, total suspended matter is important for the evaluation of inland waters. A recently launched satellite sensor, HJ-CCD, by China possesses high temporal resolution, medium spatial resolution, and wide swath, so it is convenient for monitoring this parameter in large inland waters. However, no operational method currently exists for retrieving the total suspended matter concentration of turbid inland waters from HJ-CCD data. Using Lake Taihu in Eastern China as a study area, we obtained and analyzed optical properties of the lake during all seasons, and found that the absorption coefficient of suspended matter, chlorophyll, and colored dissolved organic matter of the near-infrared band may approximate zero. Based on this analysis, we found that a single band method of retrieving concentration using the near-infrared band was suitable using HJ-CCD data. We parameterized the single band method with specific inherent optical properties of Lake Taihu, and validated it using the results retrieved from a HJ-CCD image taken on 14 March 2009, as well as water-surface quasi-synchronous measured data. The concentration retrieved from the image is precise and stable; the single band method uses the established specific optical property database in the study area for input parameters, and does not need support from synchronous data. With this method, HJ-CCD may be applied to retrieve total suspended matter of other highly turbid inland waters.

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