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Analyzing the discharge regime of a large tropical river through remote sensing, ground-based climatic data, and modeling

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4 Author(s)
A. L. Schloss ; Inst. for the Study of Earth, Oceans & Space, New Hampshire Univ., Durham, NH, USA ; C. J. Vorosmarty ; C. J. Willmott ; B. J. Choudhury

This study demonstrates the potential for applying passive microwave satellite sensor data to infer the discharge dynamics of large river systems, using the mainstem Amazon as a test case. The methodology combines a) interpolated ground-based meteorological station data, b) horizontally and vertically-polarized temperature differences (HVPTD) from the 37 GHz Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) aboard the Nimbus-7 satellite and c) a calibrated Water Balance/Water Transport Model (WBM/WTM). Monthly HVPTD values at 0.25 degree latitude×longitude resolution were re-sampled spatially and temporally to produce an enhanced HVPTD time series at 0.5 degree grid-cell resolution for the period May 1979 through February 1985. Enhanced HVPTD values were regressed against monthly discharge derived from the WBM/WTM for each of 40 grid-cells along the mainstem over a calibration period from May 1979 to February 1983 to provide a spatially-contiguous estimate of time-varying discharge. HVPTD-estimated flows generated for a validation period from March 1983 to February 1985 were found to be in good agreement with both observed and modeled discharges over a 1400 km section of the mainstem Amazon. Both the WBM/WTM and HVPTD-derived flow rates reflect the significant impact of the 1982-83 ENSO event on water balances within the basin

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, 1996. IGARSS '96. 'Remote Sensing for a Sustainable Future.', International  (Volume:1 )

Date of Conference:

27-31 May 1996