Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2004, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (1): 95-100.doi: 10.11821/xb200401012

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Estimation of River Discharge Using TOPEX/Poseidon Altimeter Data

ZHANG Jiqun1, XU Kaiqin1, KAMEYAMA Satoshi1, WATANABE Masataka1, CHEN Xiuwan2, SUN Chunpeng3   

  1. 1. National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba 305-8506, Japan;
    2. Institute of Remote Sensing and GIS, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China;
    3. Hydrology Bureau, Ministry of Water Resources, Beijing 100053, China
  • Received:2003-09-10 Revised:2003-11-16 Online:2004-01-25 Published:2004-01-25
  • Supported by:

    Integrated Environmental Monitoring (IEM) Subproject, the Asia-Pacific Environmental Innovation Strategy Project (APEIS); National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40171074


The original purpose of the TOPEX/ Poseidon was to measure sea surface height. Making use of the concept, "assuming datum plane", TOPEX/Poseidon derived water level changes data were converted to water level data. Furthermore, the rating curve between satellite-derived "water level" and in situ river discharge was established. Using this approach, the actual river discharge can be determined from TOPEX/Poseidon data without the need of the actual water level. Based on the two years (1998, 1999) TOPEX/Poseidon data and ground observed river discharge data around Datong station which is located in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the approach was validated. The results show that TOPEX/Poseidon data can be used to determine river discharge in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

Key words: satellite altimetry, TOPEX/Poseidon, water level, river discharge, Yangtze River