The ESA River & Lake system: Current Capabilities and Future Potential
Salloway, M.K.1; Berry, P.A.M.1; Smith, R.G.1; Bauer-Gottwein, P.2; Moore, P.3; Benveniste, J.4
1EAPRS Lab, UNITED KINGDOM; 2Technical University of Denmark, DENMARK; 3University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UNITED KINGDOM; 4ESA ESRIN, ITALY

Measuring the earth's river and lake resources using satellite radar altimetry offers a unique global monitoring capability, which complements the detailed measurements made by the steadily decreasing number of in-situ gauges. To exploit this unique remote monitoring capability, a global pilot scheme was implemented in 2005 to derive river and lake surface height measurements from multi-mission satellite radar altimetry.

Near-Real-Time (NRT) products from the Jason-2 satellite altimeter are automatically generated based on data acquired daily from CNES; allowing for estimates of river and lake heights within 3 days of the satellite measurement. Other altimeter missions such as Jason-1 and Envisat have previously produced NRT results. Envisat RA-2 provided results for 1850 targets globally, with an additional 58 targets available from Jason-2.

Recent improvements in delineation of waterbodies within a global mask allowed for the production of more than 500 new historical timeseries from the Envisat satellite, made freely available to the scientific community.

Cumulatively these combined missions represent over 20,000 measurements spanning 9 years, providing users with easy access to a valuable historical reference of inland water height variation. These timeseries are providing valuable information to the hydrological community, with results being incorporated into river models, an example of this for the Syr Darya is presented in this paper, and used in place of in-situ gauges, such as over the Mekong.