Multi-altimeter observations of the Yukon and Copper Rivers in Alaska: Assessment of the determination of river discharge within these complex river systems
Event: 2016 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting
Session: Science III: Two decades of continental water's survey from satellite altimetry - From nadir low-resolution mode to SAR altimetry, new perspectives for hydrology
Presentation type: Type Poster
Both radar and laser altimetry can be utilized to monitor both water level variations and channel surface gradients for the largest river systems around the world. Here, we focus on the Yukon and Copper Rivers in Alaska. Despite their extent and complexity, few US and Canadian gauges exist across the basins. This hampers modelling and basin dynamics efforts, particularly affecting flood predictions and fisheries analysis. Both conventional (Jason-2, ENVISAT, SARAL, Jason-3) and Delay-Doppler (CRYOSAT-2, Sentinel-3A) radar altimetry, and laser altimetry (ICESat-1), offers spatially and temporally varying measurements, and multiple data sets allow for cross-validations. Innovative fully-focused SAR data processing techniques also offer improved along-track spatial resolution. Here, we examine the performance of the various instruments and techniques with a focus on river reach acquisition and improved elevation accuracy. We also discuss the merits of combining the data sets and look to their application with respect to i) the determination of river discharge and ii) isolating contributions to discharge from glacial and tundra melt waters.