Mapping soil salinity in arid and semi-arid regions using Landsat 8 OLI satellite data

Abdelgadir Abuelgasim, Rubab Ammad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Soil salinity, whether natural or human induced, is a major geo-hazard in arid and semi-arid landscapes. In agricultural lands, it negatively affects plant growth, crop yields, whereas in semi-arid and arid non-agricultural areas it affects urban structures due to subsidence, corrosion and ground water quality, leading to further soil erosion and land degradation. Accurately mapping soil salinity through remote sensing techniques has been an active area of research in the past few decades particularly for agricultural lands. Most of this research has focused on the utilization and development of salinity indices for properly mapping and identifying saline agricultural soils. This research develops a soil salinity index and model using Landsat 8 OLI image data from the near infra-red and shortwave infra-red spectral information with emphasis on soil salinity mapping and assessment in non-agricultural desert arid and semi-arid surfaces. The developed index when integrated into a semi-empirical model outperformed in its soil salinity mapping overall accuracy (60%) in comparison to other salinity indices (~50%). The newly developed index further outperformed other indices in its accuracy in mapping and identifying high saline soils (67%) and excessively high saline soils (90%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-425
Number of pages11
JournalRemote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Arid
  • Landsat 8 OLI
  • Semi-arid
  • Soil salinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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