Potential for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems applications for identifying groundwater-surface water exchange in a meandering river reach
The exchange of groundwater and surface water (GW-SW), including dissolved constituents and energy, represents a critical yet challenging characterization problem for hydrogeologists and stream ecologists. Here, we describe the use of a suite of high spatial-resolution remote-sensing techniques, collected using a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS), to provide novel and complementary data to analyze GW-SW exchange. sUAS provided centimeter-scale resolution topography and water surface elevations, which are often drivers of exchange along the river corridor. Additionally, sUAS-based vegetation imagery, vegetation-top elevation, and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) mapping indicated GW-SW exchange patterns that are difficult to characterize from the land surface and may not be resolved from coarser satellite-based imagery. We combined these data with estimates of sediment hydraulic conductivity to provide a direct estimate of GW “shortcutting” through meander necks, which was corroborated by temperature data at the riverbed interface.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Potential for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems applications for identifying groundwater-surface water exchange in a meandering river reach|
|Series title||Geophysical Research Letters|
|Contributing office(s)||OGW Branch of Geophysics|