Dissertation Abstract

Contributions of Radar Altimetry to the Hydrological Modeling of Large Amazon Basins

Getirana, Augusto  2009  

GET, Universite de Toulouse III (Brazil), 300 pp.

Increasing deforestation and climate change are considered as important factors with respect to changes of standards for the Amazon basin water availability. These changes can greatly impact biodiversity and also hydropower production in this region. Moreover, no reliable prevision can be carried out without a proper hydrological monitoring network. This thesis proposes a methodological approach that enable the integration of satellite data, spatial altimetry, in particular, into the large scale hydrological modeling of the Amazon basin. The MGB-IPH hydrological model has been used to simulate the hydrological processes of the Negro River basin, the second biggest tributary of the Amazon River. The main contributions of this study are: i) the proposition of two new treatments in the data pre-processing phase - the first one deals with digital elevation model modifications to improve hydrological information acquisition, while the second one proposes a watershed discretization approach based on mini-basins; ii) a procedure that allows hydrological model output flows to be evaluated taking into account spatial altimetry data; iii) the generation of rating-curves and the estimation of river bed heights and slopes by using modeled streamflow and spatial altimetry; and iv) the investigation of the potential of spatial altimetry data to be integrated into the automatic calibration of distributed hydrological models. The results indicate that spatial altimetry is an important source for generating data that can supply and complement in situ dataset, which, due to its scarcity, inhibits and constrains the adequate modeling of hydrological processes at large basins in Amazon.