Using multi-source satellite data for lake level modelling in ungauged basins: A case study for Lake Turkana, East Africa

Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions
By: , and 

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Abstract

Managing limited surface water resources is a great challenge in areas where ground-based data are either limited or unavailable. Direct or indirect measurements of surface water resources through remote sensing offer several advantages of monitoring in ungauged basins. A physical based hydrologic technique to monitor lake water levels in ungauged basins using multi-source satellite data such as satellite-based rainfall estimates, modelled runoff, evapotranspiration, a digital elevation model, and other data is presented. This approach is applied to model Lake Turkana water levels from 1998 to 2009. Modelling results showed that the model can reasonably capture all the patterns and seasonal variations of the lake water level fluctuations. A composite lake level product of TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1, and ENVISAT satellite altimetry data is used for model calibration (1998-2000) and model validation (2001-2009). Validation results showed that model-based lake levels are in good agreement with observed satellite altimetry data. Compared to satellite altimetry data, the Pearson's correlation coefficient was found to be 0.81 during the validation period. The model efficiency estimated using NSCE is found to be 0.93, 0.55 and 0.66 for calibration, validation and combined periods, respectively. Further, the model-based estimates showed a root mean square error of 0.62 m and mean absolute error of 0.46 m with a positive mean bias error of 0.36 m for the validation period (2001-2009). These error estimates were found to be less than 15 % of the natural variability of the lake, thus giving high confidence on the modelled lake level estimates. The approach presented in this paper can be used to (a) simulate patterns of lake water level variations in data scarce regions, (b) operationally monitor lake water levels in ungauged basins, (c) derive historical lake level information using satellite rainfall and evapotranspiration data, and (d) augment the information provided by the satellite altimetry systems on changes in lake water levels. ?? Author(s) 2011.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Using multi-source satellite data for lake level modelling in ungauged basins: A case study for Lake Turkana, East Africa
Series title Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions
DOI 10.5194/hessd-8-4851-2011
Volume 8
Issue 3
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions
First page 4851
Last page 4890