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22 October 2010 Contribution of earth observation data to Congo River basin hydrology understanding
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Natural Resource Monitoring in Africa (NARMA) is one of the Core Information Services of EU-FP7 project Geoland2 addressing important sectoral policies that concern with the development of an environmental monitoring capacity over African countries for the needs of the European Commission (EC) services and for regional and continental EC partners in African countries. Congo basin is one of the target area where NARMA has to contribute to the development of AMESD/CICOS services in support to management of water resources focusing on environmental aspects of watersheds. In this contest and to better understand dynamics that occur in the watershed, an analysis has been conducted on the relation between precipitation, river discharge and vegetation dynamics by exploiting available time series of Earth Observation data. Rainfall dynamics has been described using FEWS-NET RFE estimations, river discharge has been monitored using ENVISAT radar altimeter data provided by LEGOS laboratory and vegetation dynamics have been examined through vegetation indices available from long term series of SPOT-VGT data. The comparison between river discharge measured at Bangui (Central African Republic), gauging station and radar altimeter virtual station data demonstrated that these data can be used to estimate river discharge. This result allowed to focus a preliminary analysis on the Uele watershed, Ubangi sub basin, using radar data as a proxy of river discharge, comparing these trends to seasonal rainfall estimates and trying to disentangling the effect of vegetation on discharge-rain relation. Results showed that a strong positive correlation is obtained between rain data and river discharge only at the end of the vegetation season when plants have reduced water demand for evapotranspiration and less intercept rain. Trend analysis on the considered time windows are provided and the contribution of these finding for river water alert monitoring system is discussed.
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Mirco Boschetti, Francesco Nutini, Pietro A. Brivio, Etienne Bartholome, and Daniela Stroppiana "Contribution of earth observation data to Congo River basin hydrology understanding", Proc. SPIE 7824, Remote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology XII, 78241C (22 October 2010);

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