The recharge and discharge components of the Death Valley regional groundwater flow system were defined by remote sensing and GIS techniques that integrated disparate data types to develop a spatially complex representation of near-surface hydrological processes. Image classification methods were applied to multispectral satellite data to produce a vegetation map. This map provided a basis for subsequent evapotranspiration and infiltration estimations. The vegetation map was combined with ancillary data in a GIS to delineate different types of wetlands, phreatophytes and wet playa areas. Existing evapotranspiration-rate estimates were then used to calculate discharge volumes for these areas. A previously used empirical method of groundwater recharge estimation was modified by GIS methods to incorporate data describing soil-moisture conditions, and a recharge potential map was produced. These discharge and recharge maps were readily converted to data arrays for numerical modelling codes. Inverse parameter estimation techniques also used these data to evaluate the reliability and sensitivity of estimated values.
Additional publication details
Using remote sensing and GIS techniques to estimate discharge and recharge. fluxes for the Death Valley regional groundwater flow system, USA