14 Jun 2022
14 Jun 2022

River hydraulic modelling with ICEsat-2 land and water surface elevation

Monica Coppo Frias1,3, Suxia Liu2,3, Xingguo Mo2,3, Karina Nielsen4, Heidi Randall4, Liguang Jiang6, Jun Ma5, and Peter Bauer-Gottwein1 Monica Coppo Frias et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental and Resource Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
  • 2Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research/Chinese Academy of Sciences,100101 Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
  • 3Sino-Danish Colleage, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • 4Department of Geodesy and Earth Observation, Technical University of Denmark, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
  • 5Hydrology Bureau,Yellow River Water Conservancy Commission, Zhengzhou, Henan, 450004, China
  • 6School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology. 1088 Xueyuan Avenue, Shenzhen 518055, P.R. China

Abstract. Advances in geodetic altimetry instruments are providing more accurate measurements, enabling satellite missions to hand over useful data in narrow rivers and streams. Altimetry missions produce spatially dense land and water surface elevation measurements in remote areas where in-situ data is scarce, that can be combined with hydraulic/hydrodynamic models to simulate water surface elevation and estimate discharge. In this study, we combine ICESat-2 land and water surface elevation measurements with a low-parametrized hydraulic calibration to simulate water surface elevation and discharge without the need for a rainfall-runoff model. ICESat-2 provides an opportunity to map river cross-section geometry very accurately with an along-track resolution of 0.7 m using the ATL03 product. These measurements are combined with the inland water product ATL13 to calibrate a steady-state hydraulic model to retrieve unobserved hydraulic parameters, such as river depth or roughness coefficient. The low-parametrized model together with the assumption of steady-state hydraulics enables the application of a global search algorithm for parameter calibration at a manageable computational cost. The model performance is similar to that reported for highly parametrized models, with a root mean square error of around 0.41 m. With the calibrated model, we can calculate water surface elevation time series at any chainage point at any time of an available satellite pass within the river reach, and estimate discharge from water surface elevation. The discharge estimates are validated with in-situ measurements at two available gauging stations. In addition, we use the calibrated parameters in a full hydrodynamic model simulation resulting in a RMSE of 0.59 m for the entire observation period.

Monica Coppo Frias et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-377', Anonymous Referee #1, 05 Aug 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-377', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Sep 2022

Monica Coppo Frias et al.

Monica Coppo Frias et al.


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Short summary
This paper uses remote sensing data from ICESat-2 to calibrate a 1D hydraulic model. With the model, we can make estimations of discharge and water surface elevation, which are important indicators in flooding risk assessment. ICESat-2 data gives an added value thanks to its 0.7 meters resolution, which allows for measuring narrow river streams. In addition, ICESat-2 provides measurements on the river dry portion geometry that can be included in the model.