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Surface freshwater storage and variability in the Amazon basin from multi-satellite observations, 1993-2007

Abstract : The amount of water stored and moving through the surface water bodies of large river basins (river, floodplains, wetlands) plays a major role in the global water and biochemical cycles and is a critical parameter for water resources management. However, the spatiotemporal variations of these freshwater reservoirs are still widely unknown at the global scale. Here, we propose a hypsographic curve approach to estimate surface freshwater storage variations over the Amazon basin combining surface water extent from a multi-satellite-technique with topographic data from the Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM) from Advance Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER). Monthly surface water storage variations for 1993-2007 are presented, showing a strong seasonal and interannual variability, and are evaluated against in situ river discharge and precipitation. The basin-scale mean annual amplitude of similar to 1200 km(3) is in the range of previous estimates and contributes to about half of the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) total water storage variations. For the first time, we map the surface water volume anomaly during the extreme droughts of 1997 (October-November) and 2005 (September-October) and found that during these dry events the water stored in the river and floodplains of the Amazon basin was, respectively, similar to 230 (similar to 40%) and 210 (similar to 50%) km(3) below the 1993-2007 average. This new 15 year data set of surface water volume represents an unprecedented source of information for future hydrological or climate modeling of the Amazon. It is also a first step toward the development of such database at the global scale.
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Submitted on : Monday, May 19, 2014 - 2:35:06 PM
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F. Papa, Frédéric Frappart, A. Guntner, F. Aires, A. C. V. Getirana, et al.. Surface freshwater storage and variability in the Amazon basin from multi-satellite observations, 1993-2007. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, American Geophysical Union, 2013, 118 (21), pp.11951-11965. ⟨10.1002/2013jd020500⟩. ⟨hal-00991286⟩



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