Title: Remotely sensed surface water extent as an indicator of short-term changes in ecohydrological processes in sub-Saharan Western Africa
Citation: REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT vol. 115 no. 12 p. 3436-3445
Publication Year: 2011
JRC N°: JRC62039
ISSN: 0034-4257
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425711002896
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2011.08.007
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The highly variable rainfall in the arid and semi-arid regions of sub-Saharan Western Africa drives both surface water availability and vegetation cover. Recent studies have established linkages between rainfall and vegetation cover at local to regional scales, but no study related yet remote sensing derived rainfall and vegetation cover to the available surface water. A new dataset based on SPOT VEGETATION (VGT) represents surface water bodies (SWB) in the arid and semi-arid regions of sub- Saharan Western Africa. Water bodies represent the integrated hydrological response of a catchment, and changes in their spatial extent involve complex interactions at the catchment scale. We analyzed time series of remotely sensed data for the decade 1999 ¿ 2008, and found statistically significant relationships between vegetation cover, rainfall and surface water extent. Our findings for two regions in Mali and Burkina Faso suggest that vegetation cover is positively related to the amount of available surface water only for catchments with a vegetation cover that is controlled strictly by rainfall. The observed relationships between 30 remotely sensed variables allows developing ecological indicators that can indicate short-term changes in arid and semi-arid ecosystems at local to regional scales.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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