The ESA river discharge Climate Change Initiative project is a precursor study. It aims to derive long term climate data records (at least over 20-years) of river discharge for some selected river basin (and some locations in the river network) using satellite remote sensing observations (altimetry and multispectral images) and ancillary data. It aims to provide a proof-of-concept for the feasibility for a potential River Discharge ECV product to meet the requirements for the Global Climate Observing System


The work is divided into 5 main tasks / work packages:

WP 1 - User engagement Collect user requirements by interviewing key research scientists and provide a User Requirement Document on long river discharge time series.
WP 2 - Selection of test sites A list of 18 basins have been selected in order to respond to all the issues and interests identified by users.
These basins represent a wide diversity in terms of: land use, land cover, urbanisation, river width, basin’s area, climate etc. with available satellite observations and ancillary data (especially in-situ discharge time series)
WP 3 - Aglorithms development Generation of long time series of :
o Water level from altimetry (ERS-1/-2, Envisat, Saral, Topex-Poseidon, Jason-1/-2/-3, Sentinel-6A, Sentinel-3A/B)
o River discharge derived from altimetry and ancillary data (use of rating curves)
o River discharge derived from multispectral and ancillary images (MODIS/Aqua, MODIS/Terra, MSI/Sentinel-2, OLCI/Sentinel-3, Landsat 7, Landsat 8)
o River discharge derived from multisatellite data (altimetry and muti-spectral)
WP 4 - Validation Validation of the river discharge products and round-robin to check and understand the consistency of the different methodologies
WP 5 - Climate Assessment o Assessment of the quality of the generated discharge product for addressing the climate-related challenges, with a focus on the capacity of the satellite discharge product to reproduce extreme events (inundation, water deficit due to draught)
o Study of the assimilation of satellite products (either water surface elevation or estimated discharge from WP3) and their respective uncertainties into large scale river routing models, that can be deployed over some selected river basins. The results will be presented in a scientific article
o Outreach (publications of the main results of this project and user workshop foreseen in March 2024)
alt text here List of partners