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60 Estimation of River and Water-Body Stage, Width and Gradients Using Radar Altimetry, Interferometric SAR and Laser Altimetry

Part 5. Remote Sensing

  1. Charon Birkett1,
  2. Doug Alsdorf2,
  3. David Harding3

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa065

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

Birkett, C., Alsdorf, D. and Harding, D. 2006. Estimation of River and Water-Body Stage, Width and Gradients Using Radar Altimetry, Interferometric SAR and Laser Altimetry. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 5:60.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Maryland, Earth Science Interdisciplinary Center, College Park, MD, US

  2. 2

    Ohio State University, Department of Geological Sciences, Columbus, OH, US

  3. 3

    Geodynamics Branch, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, US

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006

Abstract

Major advances in the application of satellite radar altimetry have led the way to a proven ability to determine surface water height, or stage, for some of the largest rivers, wetlands, and lakes around the world. These developments have come at a time when global water resources are of major concern, and there is a much-noted decline in ground-based monitoring networks. Recent interferometric synthetic aperture radar studies have also demonstrated the ability to retrieve stage changes over a wide expanse of inundated floodplain or wetland. While the performance of these radar instruments is continuously being assessed, focus is also on the potential of satellite-based laser altimetry, which may offer smaller observable targets and improved stage accuracies. With these technological capabilities, we have the capacity to determine inland water stage, and to some degree, river width and gradient.

Keywords:

  • radar altimetry;
  • interferometric SAR;
  • laser altimetry;
  • surface water;
  • stage;
  • width;
  • gradient