LiquidEarth : LiquidEarth - River

Tennessee Technological University


LiquidEarth - River

LiquidEarth-River aims to deliver surface-water-relevant information such as river height, flood inundation, and reservoir storage directly to the user in a manner useful for decision making on water management, particularly for climate change adaptation. Today, most of the world’s population live near a freshwater source (lakes, rivers) or the coast (facing the sea) and are thus vulnerable to the rise in water level. To the best of our knowledge there is currently no mobile platform application that is taking advantage of the routine and global satellite observation capability through space-borne radar altimetry to measure the height of water surfaces at the precision of a few centimeters.

As a demonstration, LiquidEarth-River version 1.0 represents a prototype application that provides 5-day river height forecast at two in-situ points (Hardinge Bridge and Bahadurabad Ghat ) in Bangladesh by detecting river levels at seven upstream locations in Ganges and Brahmaputra in upstream India where in-situ data is unavailable. The river levels in upstream locations are obtained from Jason-2 altimetry data (joint NASA-French Satellite mission) at seven upstream virtual stations (satellite tracks of 194, 079, 014 and 155 on transboundary regions of Ganges and 166, 053 and 247 on transboundary regions of Brahmaputra). At these upstream locations, it is fundamentally intractable to obtain river level information from in-situ networks due to insurmountable hydro-political and logistic hurdles. Jason-2 solves these hurdles by observing from space, and LiquidEarth-River makes Jason-2’s vision readily accessible for any user downstream. The server side of the application runs on a desktop that downloads Jason-2 data (from ftp://avisoftp.cnes.fr) daily, and runs a forecasting scheme to provide 5-day forecast at the two in-situ points displayed intuitively on the graphical interface.

The value of LiquidEarth-River is in better understanding of the future (at 8 day lead time) of potential water levels near rivers, in light of the societal implications for water encroachment into homesteads and farmlands. Through this application we demonstrate that it is possible to bring the complex radar altimetry data on radar backscatter packaged as knowledge of value to beneficiaries (as river height) in near real-time to have value in decision making. We also demonstrate an option for scientists and users to contribute volunteered geographic information (VGI or citizens’ data) on improving river level forecasting, gaining more river cross section data for hydrodynamic model improvement and creating a long–term publicly-available data repository for everyone trying to understand the impact of climate change on water levels. Most importantly, with rising sea levels and consequential impact on freshwater river levels in coastal and estuarine regions, LiquidEarth-River has potential to be used directly for climate change adaptation and decision making anywhere in the world. Although the example shown herein is for Bangladesh, LiquidEarth-River can be used for any river systems vulnerable to sea level rise and other impacts of climate change.

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LiquidEarth-Rain version 2.0 is released for Android platforms 3.0+.

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