Thermal remote sensing of water under flooded vegetation: new observations of inundation patterns for the 'Small' Lake Chad

LeBlanc, M., Lemoalle, J., Bader , J-C., Tweed, S., and Mofor, L. (2011) Thermal remote sensing of water under flooded vegetation: new observations of inundation patterns for the 'Small' Lake Chad. Journal of Hydrology, 404 (1-2). pp. 87-98.

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Abstract

Lake Chad at the border of the Sahara desert in central Africa, is well known for its high sensitivity to hydroclimatic events. Gaps in in situ data have so far prevented a full assessment of the response of Lake Chad to the ongoing prolonged drought that started in the second half of the 20th century. Like many other wetlands and shallow lakes, the 'Small' Lake Chad includes large areas of water under aquatic vegetation which needs to be accounted for to obtain the total inundated area. In this paper, a methodology is proposed that uses Meteosat thermal maximum composite data (Tmax) to account for water covered by aquatic vegetation and provide a consistent monthly time series of total inundated area estimates for Lake Chad. Total inundation patterns in Lake Chad were reconstructed for a 15-yr period (1986–2001) which includes the peak of the drought (86–91) and therefore provides new observations on the hydrological functioning of the 'Small' Lake Chad. During the study period, Lake Chad remained below 16,400 km2 (third quartile ∼8800 km2). The variability of the inundated area observed in the northern pool (standard deviation σnorthern pool = 1980 km2) is about 60% greater than that of the southern pool (σsouthern pool = 1250 km2). The same methodology could be applied to other large wetlands and shallow lakes in semi-arid or arid regions elsewehere using Meteosat (e.g. Niger Inland Delta, Sudd in Sudan, Okavango Delta) and other weather satellites (e.g., floodplains of the Lake Eyre Basin in Australia and Andean Altiplano Lakes in South America).

Item ID: 20863
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: drought; remote sensing; global change; water resources; Africa
ISSN: 0022-1694
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2012 02:02
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040603 Hydrogeology @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040608 Surfacewater Hydrology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960910 Sparseland, Permanent Grassland and Arid Zone Land and Water Management @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
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