Satellites as Aid to Water Resource Managers

by David F. McGinnis, Jr., (A.M.ASCE), Hydro.; NOAA/National Environmental Satellite Service, Washington, D.C.,
Craig P. Berg, Lieutenant; NOAA Corps, Washington, D.C.,
Stanley R. Schneider, Hydro.; NOAA/National Environmental Satellite Service, Washington, D.C.,
Roderick A. Scofield, Meteorologist; NOAA/National Environmental Satellite Service, Washington, D.C.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Water Resources Planning and Management Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 1, Pg. 1-19

Document Type: Journal Paper


Satellite imagery and digital data have been applied to solve water resource problems. Areal snowcover determinations, monitoring of river ice breakup, mapping of flood extent, and precipitation estimates have been derived from polar-orbiting and geostationary satellite data. The operational snowmapping program at the National Environmental Satellite Service provides snowcover data to requesting Federal, State, and local agencies for use in reservoir release decisions, water resource planning, flood forecasting, and runoff modelling. Satellite data can be used to monitor ice breakup on major river systems. During April 4-14, 1976, lengths of individual ice-covered reaches on Canada's Ottawa River were measured daily. Major floods in the United States have been observed on satellite imagery and flood-extent maps produced. Case studies are presented for the Mississippi River flood of 1973 and the Red River of the North flood of 1978.

Subject Headings: Floods | Water resources | Rivers and streams | Hydrologic data | Snow | Ice | Satellites | Managers | United States | Mississippi River

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