After decades of mining and industrialization in Qatar, it is important to estimate their impact on soil pollution with toxic metals. The study utilized 300 topsoil (0–30 cm) samples, multi-spectral images (Landsat 8), spectral indices and environmental variables to model and map the spatial distribution of arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) in Qatari soils. The prediction model used condition-based rules generated in the Cubist tool. In terms of R2 and the ratio of performance to interquartile distance (RPIQ), the models showed good predictive capabilities for all elements. Of all of the prediction results, Cu had the highest R2 = 0.74, followed by As > Pb > Cr > Zn > Ni. This study found that all of the models only chose images from January and February as predictors, which indicates that images from these two months are important for soil toxic metals’ monitoring in arid soils, due to the climate and the vegetation cover during this season. Topsoil maps of the six toxic metals were generated. The maps can be used to prioritize the choice of remediation measures and can be applied to other arid areas of similar environmental/socio-economic conditions and pollution causes.
Peng Y., Kheir R.B., Adhikari K., Malinowski R., Greve M.B., Knadel M., Greve, M.H. (2016) Digital Mapping of Toxic Metals in Qatari Soils Using Remote Sensing and Ancillary Data. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 1003