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Water & Energy Cycles

This proposal seeks to explore several inland water investigations using archival (T/P, ERS-1, ERS-2), current (Jason-1, GFO, ENVISAT) and future Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM) mission data. The main science focus is on river dynamics, the use of lakes as proxy indicators of climate change, and the forecasting of drought/flood episodes in remote regions. A multi-altimeter approach provides a more global outlook, combining the temporal and spatial resolution merits of each instrument, while each series (NASA/CNES or ESA) offers 15-20years of observation. A strong calibration/validation theme runs throughout this proposed program with respect to the OSTM mission, focusing particularly on the problems inherent in the merger of multiple datasets. The utilization of all data sets is also at the forefront, seeking refined radar echo interpretation and atmospheric correction methods to improve target detection and elevation accuracy. Technical results will feed directly into a USDA-funded near real time operations program that monitors large lakes and reservoirs around the world for irrigation resources concerns. The main objectives of this program are: 1. To examine the overall performance of the OSTM radar altimeter over inland water targets. 2. To refine echo interpretation and data evaluation methods to improve elevation accuracy and target resolution. 3. To examine the merits and problems inherent in combining the NASA/CNES/ESA/NRL data sets, 4. To undertake 3 science investigations, i) Evaluate the contribution of satellite radar altimetry to the determination of river discharge and river dynamics. ii) Search for and interpret the correlations between observed lake/reservoir/river stage variations over a 20year period and climatic indices such as ENSO and NAO. The long-term goals here are the evaluation of regional vulnerability to drought and floods. iii) Determine GRACE volume storage changes and correlate the results with altimetric lake and tributary stage variations.

Project PI: Charon Birkett/University of Maryland

Email: cmb@essic.umd.edu

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Started: Aug 09, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 10, 2010

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