Picture including a measurement of the water level of a river.

EarthConsole® Stories: Monitoring water level changes in the Yangtze River using FF-SAR data

EarthConsole® Stories are experiences about how we helped universities, research centres or service developers to leverage Earth Observation data to extract valuable insights for their research, educational or pre-commercial projects.

The Project

This study aims at using Sentinel-6 and Sentinel-3 FFSAR data for monitoring changes in water levels within the Yangtze River during the period of January 2019 to March 2023. A key objective of this study is to assess the precision of these datasets in the context of the Yangtze River, accomplished through comprehensive comparisons with both measured water level data and data sourced from alternative satellite monitoring systems.

In addition, the research extends into the topographical characteristics of the Yangtze River, involving a detailed analysis of waveform patterns and potential factors influencing transit points along the river. Furthermore, the study seeks to uncover the root causes behind the fluctuations in the Yangtze River’s water levels, achieving this by cross-referencing data with climate information.

The Need

The requirement at hand revolved around exploring the correlation between temporal and spatial changes in the Yangtze River’s water levels and climate change. Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-6 FFSAR data stood out for their renowned accuracy in monitoring river water level changes. To facilitate this investigation effectively, EarthConsole® offered the FFSAR (Fully Focused Synthetic Aperture Radar) processor for Sentinel-6 developed by Aresys, enabling to delve into this relationship.

Why EarthConsole®

In particular, the P-PRO (Parallel Processing) service within the ESA Altimetry Virtual Lab hosted on EarthConsole® has been selected to gain access to the FF-SAR processor to process Sentinel-6 L1a data on the Yangtze River Basin.

The EarthConsole® P-PRO service proved to be an ideal fit for our project, as it provided the reliable and readily available FF-SAR processor hosted on the platform. Furthermore, this service allowed us to entrust the processing management to EarthConsole® experts, allowing me to concentrate on my research and easily retrieve the results once they were ready.”

Shanmu Ma, Student at the Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences – China

This project has been supported via the ESA Network of Resources initiative.