Developing new algorithms for estimating river discharge from space



SWOT River Discharge Algorithms Workshop;Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 18–20 June 2012 Flow of water through rivers is a critical component of the global hydrologic cycle, yet present-day discharge on many rivers remains poorly observed. The planned NASA/Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission will provide concurrent observations of water surface elevation, its spatial derivative (surface slope), and inundated area for rivers wider than 50–100 meters, which will allow a step-change improvement in characterization of river discharge from space. Researchers in remote sensing of river discharge recently attended a NASA-funded workshop to discuss new approaches for incorporation of SWOT's unprecedented observations into discharge estimation algorithms.