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An intercomparison of remote sensing river discharge estimation algorithms from measurements of river height, width, and slope

Durand, Michael and Gleason, Colin and Garambois, Pierre-André and Bjerklie, David and Smith, L.C. and Roux, Hélène and Rodriguez, Ernesto and Bates, Paul D. and Pavelsky, Tamlin M. and Monnier, Jérôme and Chen, X. and Di Baldassare, G. and Fiset, J.-M. and Flipo, Nicolas and Frasson, Renato and Fulton, John and Goutal, Nicole and Hossain, F. and Humphries, E. and Minear, J.T. and Mulkolwe, M.M. and Neal, J.C. and Ricci, Sophie and Sanders, B.F. and Schumann, G. and Schubert, J.E. and Vilmin, L. An intercomparison of remote sensing river discharge estimation algorithms from measurements of river height, width, and slope. (2016) Water Resources Research, 52 (6). 4527-4549. ISSN 0043-1397

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015WR018434


The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission planned for launch in 2020 will map river elevations and inundated area globally for rivers >100 m wide. In advance of this launch, we here evaluated the possibility of estimating discharge in ungauged rivers using synthetic, daily ‘‘remote sensing’’ measurements derived from hydraulic models corrupted with minimal observational errors. Five discharge algorithms were evaluated, as well as the median of the five, for 19 rivers spanning a range of hydraulic and geomorphic conditions. Reliance upon a priori information, and thus applicability to truly ungauged reaches, varied among algorithms: one algorithm employed only global limits on velocity and depth, while the other algorithms relied on globally available prior estimates of discharge. We found at least one algorithm able to estimate instantaneous discharge to within 35% relative root-mean-squared error (RRMSE) on 14/16 nonbraided rivers despite out-of-bank flows, multichannel planforms, and backwater effects. Moreover, we found RRMSE was often dominated by bias; the median standard deviation of relative residuals across the 16 nonbraided rivers was only 12.5%. SWOT discharge algorithm progress is therefore encouraging, yet future efforts should consider incorporating ancillary data or multialgorithm synergy to improve results.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to American Geophysical Union (AGU) editor. The definitive version is available at : http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/ http://www.sciencedirect.com The original PDF of the article can be found at :https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/2015WR018434
HAL Id:hal-01412823
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
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Deposited On:19 Mar 2018 08:19

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