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Water Level Retrieval Using SARAL/AltiKa Observations in the Braided Brahmaputra River, Eastern India

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In this study, water level retrieval over the Brahmaputra river was done using different retracking algorithms for the 40 Hz waveform data of SARAL/AltiKa satellite. Water level was retrieved at 10 different locations of the river to evaluate the performance and accuracy of Ka band altimeter over the braided river system. Different retracking algorithms such as ice-1, ice-2, threshold, and beta parameter were used to retrieve water levels. A correlation and error analysis between the in-situ and satellite altimetry derived river levels was carried out for all the stations. Performance and accuracy analysis has established that water level can be retrieved with less than 40 cm root mean square error (RMSE) for most of the braided reaches of the river. The statistical analysis have found that Beta parameter algorithm has performed best in most of the cases amongst the different retracking algorithms used in this study. The water levels derived from 10 different locations were used to generate water surface elevation profiles for the monsoon and nonmonsoon periods. The water levels and the water surface profiles derived from satellite altimetry indicate the potential use of altimeters for the parameterization and calibration of river hydrological, hydrodynamic and sediment transport models.
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Keywords: Water level retrieval; braided river; satellite altimetry

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Space Applications Centre, ISRO, Environment and Hydrology Division, Ahmedabad, India 2: Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Civil Engineering, Guwahati, India

Publication date: September 10, 2015

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