Satellite EO for Flood and Drought Forecasting in China

Project summary

This project aims to exploit innovative satellite earth observation data products for operational flood and drought forecasting in China. The EU Copernicus programme and related satellite missions (NASA GRACE, GRACE-FO) provide spatially and temporally resolved observations of key inland water variables, including water surface elevation (WSE), surface water extent (SWE), total water storage change (TWS), actual evapotranspiration (AET) and soil moisture (SM).

The EOForChina project will develop efficient open-source algorithms to process these data and will map inland water variables at regional scale for selected regions of China. This will provide detailed information on how water resources systems respond to the combined stresses of climate change and human exploitation. The project will develop algorithms and workflows to directly use satellite EO data to inform hydrologic and hydrodynamic simulation models and decision support systems.

The techniques will be demonstrated and evaluated for selected use cases where project partners have access to existing decision support systems that are used in operational water resources management and flood forecasting. The project will demonstrate how satellite EO data can be used to improve the predictive skill of such systems by increasing sharpness and reliability of the delivered forecasts.

The workplan combines scientific research and development work that can potentially lead to new and enhanced products and services. The project consortium brings together leading academic and industry partners from Denmark and China, who have significant experience and background knowledge in the subject area. The consortium is thus strategically positioned to exploit both the scientific and commercial opportunities arising from the combination of satellite EO data and hydrologic simulators in the context of water resources and flood management in China.


First year report

  • Developed a workflow to extract surface water extent from synthetic aperture radar and optical images; to be applied at the national scale for China at
    10 m spatial resolution.
  • Developed a workflow for 1-km soil moisture from synthetic aperture radar satellite imagery.
  • Evaluated Sentinel-3 radar altimetry and Icesat-2 laser altimetry for monitoring Chinese inland water bodies, including man-made reservoirs.
  • Developed a large-scale hydrological modeling approach to be applied at the national scale in China.
  • Prepared an operational forecasting system for the Changjiang river basin for the uptake of satellite remote sensing data.
  • Demonstrated the use of Cryosat-2 radar altimetry for the retrieval of hydraulic parameters of the Songhua River.
  • Developed a hydrologic-hydrodynamic model of the Han river basin using satellite EO for parameterization and calval.
  • Demonstrated the utility of satellite-derived solar induced fluorescence for drought detection and monitoring.
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