The Spring Flood Progress in the Severnaya Dvina Basin is Monitored from Space

In April–May 2010 ScanEx RDC carries out operational satellite monitoring of ice flow in the basin of the Severnaya Dvina River in behalf of the Arkhangelsk Central Hydrometeorological Service. In early April the associated agreement was signed between ScanEx RDC, a Russian company developing domestic space technologies in the field of satellite imagery and the Arkhangelsk Central Hydrometeorological Service – being one of the five centers for hydrometeorology and environmental monitoring under the Northern Hydrometeorological Service Administration.

Provision of the Arkhangelsk Central Hydrometeorological Service with operational satellite monitoring became possible primarily on account of the satellite monitoring of spring flood progress on the country’s rivers conducted in behalf of the Emercom of Russia in spring 2010.

Spring flood monitoring in the basin of the Severnaya Dvina (from Velikiy Usyug to Arkhangelsk) is carried out on the basis of radar data of RADARSAT-1 and ENVISAT-1 and optical imagery materials of EROS A/B, SPOT 4, and Landsat 5. Reception and processing of satellite images takes place in the Moscow Center for Earth Remote Sensing of ScanEx RDC. Space imagery data are timely delivered to specialists of the Arkhangelsk Central Hydrometeorological Service via the closed geoservices “Kosmosnimki – Spring Flood”.

Pursuant of the project goals preliminary (March – April ) radar images have already been received for the area of the monitoring, which allowed detecting locations of potential spring ice gorges occurrence on the Severnaya Dvina that could instigate formation of spring ice jams leading to water level increase and flooding of the river first bed or nearby settlements. The locations of ice gorges and jams detected on the basis of satellite data were verified using field observation results.

No airborne ice reconnaissance in fall and spring this year makes it impossible for operational personnel to carry out detailed ice survey for assessment of its state by the time river clearing forecasts are due and for further monitoring of ice flow progress. Use of satellite monitoring data made information on ice condition fuller with more accurate geolocation and possibility to compare images, which is of primary importance for operations, points out Elena Skripnik, Head of River and Marine Hydrological Forecasting of the Hydrometeorological Center of the Arkhangelsk Central Hydrometeorological Service.

Efficiency of operational satellite imagery application for spring flood monitoring and management is proven by the experience of 2009 when over 70 satellite images of high and middle spatial resolution were received and processed in behalf of the Arkhangelsk Central Hydrometeorological Service. In spring 2009 satellite monitoring was effected in the 650 km section of the Severnaya Dvina: from Velikiy Ustyug to Arkhangelsk. The monitoring also covered the arms (Vaga, Vychegda, Pinega) and the River Onega. Details on satellite technologies applied to spring flood monitoring and the observation results concerning the Severnaya Dvina basin in 2009 are available in the second issue of the “Earth from Space – the Most Effective Solutions” magazine.