14 March 2003 River gaging reaches: a strategy for MODIS-based river monitoring
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Abstract
Satellite gaging reaches are polygonal land areas encompassing river and floodplain reaches where total surface water area expands and contracts as river discharge varies. Traditional gaging stations measure water level, or stage, as a surrogate for discharge. Such stations are commonly located where discharge changes are primarily accommodated by stage and not width changes. In contrast, we identify for testing purposes 191 gaging reaches distributed worldwide where multi-temporal remote sensing demonstrates significant water surface area variability. Typical reach lengths are 30 km and reach widths average 10-30 km. The gaging reaches are sufficiently wide to accommodate the largest floods. Measured water surface areas using the MODIS sensor 250 m resolution bands are converted to river characteristic widths (water area/river length) and, in the U.S., are compared to adjacent gaging station data. Preliminary results indicate that, along many U.S. gaging reaches, MODIS-derived widths are robust predictors of discharge. As is the case for in situ gaging stations, local width/discharge relations vary, and some reaches record discharge changes with greater precision than others. Time series of MODIS river characteristic widths can provide hydrologists and water resource managers with a geographically extensive and economical river monitoring capability
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Robert Brakenridge, Heather Carlos, Elaine K. Anderson, "River gaging reaches: a strategy for MODIS-based river monitoring", Proc. SPIE 4886, Remote Sensing for Environmental Monitoring, GIS Applications, and Geology II, (14 March 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.463105; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.463105
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