Abstract's details

STREAMRIDE: a satellite-based approach for river discharge estimation

Stefania Camici (CNR IRPI, Italy)


Angelica Tarpanelli (CNR IRPI, Italy); Luca Brocca (CNR IRPI, Italy); Christian Massari (CNR IRPI, Italy); Paolo Filippucci (CNR IRPI, Italy); Karina Nielsen (Division of Geodesy, National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark); Nico Sneeuw (Institute of Geodesy, University of Stuttgart, Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 24D, 70174 Stuttgart, Germany, Germany); Mohammad J. Tourian (Institute of Geodesy, University of Stuttgart, Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 24D, 70174 Stuttgart, Germany, Germany); Marco Restano (SERCO, ESA-ESRIN, Largo Galileo Galilei, Frascati, 00044, Italy); Jérôme Benveniste (European Space Agency, ESA-ESRIN, Largo Galileo Galilei, Frascati, 00044, Italy)

Event: 2022 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting

Session: Science IV: Altimetry for Cryosphere and Hydrology

Presentation type: Type Poster

Contribution: PDF file


River discharge monitoring is crucial for many activities ranging from the management of water resources to flood risk mitigation. Due to the limitations of the in situ stations (e.g., low station density, incomplete temporal coverage as well as delays in data access), the river discharge is not always continuously monitored in time and in space. This prompted researchers and space agencies, among others, in developing new methods based on satellite observations for the river discharge estimation.

In the last year, ESA has funded the SaTellite based Runoff Evaluation And Mapping and River Discharge Estimation (STREAMRIDE) project, which proposes the combination of two innovative and complementary approaches, STREAM and RIDESAT, that use almost exclusively satellite data for estimating river discharge. In particular, precipitation, soil moisture and terrestrial water storage observations are used within a simple and conceptual parsimonious approach (STREAM) to estimate runoff, whereas altimeter and Near InfraRed (NIR) sensors are jointly exploited to derive river discharge within RIDESAT.

By modelling different processes that act at the basin or at local scale, the combination of STREAM and RIDESAT is able to provide less than 3-day temporal resolution river discharge estimates in many large rivers of the world (e.g., Mississippi, Amazon, Danube, Po), where the single approaches fail. Indeed, even if both the approaches demonstrated high capability to estimate accurate river discharge at multiple cross sections, they are not optimal under certain conditions such as in presence of densely vegetated and mountainous areas or in non-natural basins with high anthropogenic impact (i.e., in basin where the flow is regulated by the presence of dams, reservoirs or floodplains along the river; or in highly irrigated areas). Here, we present some new advancements of both STREAM and RIDESAT approaches which help to overcome the limitations encountered. In particular, specific modules (e.g., reservoir or irrigation modules for STREAM approach) as well as improvements in the retrieval algorithm (e.g., to take in account the contribution of the river sediment load and vegetation for RIDESAT algorithm) were implemented. Furthermore, in order to exploit the complementarity of the two approaches, the two river discharge estimates were also integrated within a simple data integration framework and evaluated over sites located on the Amazon and Mississippi river basins. Results demonstrated the added-value of a complementary river discharge estimate with respect to a stand-alone estimate.

Poster show times:

Room Start Date End Date
Mezzanine Tue, Nov 01 2022,17:15 Tue, Nov 01 2022,18:15
Mezzanine Thu, Nov 03 2022,14:00 Thu, Nov 03 2022,15:45
Stefania Camici