Tarpanelli, A; Iodice, F; Brocca, L; Restano, M; Benveniste, J (2020). River Flow Monitoring by Sentinel-3 OLCI and MODIS: Comparison and Combination. REMOTE SENSING, 12(23), 3867.

The monitoring of rivers by satellite is an up-to-date subject in hydrological studies as confirmed by the interest of space agencies to finance specific missions that respond to the quantification of surface water flows. We address the problem by using multi-spectral sensors, in the near-infrared (NIR) band, correlating the reflectance ratio between a dry and a wet pixel extracted from a time series of images, the C/M ratio, with five river flow-related variables: water level, river discharge, flow area, mean flow velocity and surface width. The innovative aspect of this study is the use of the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI) on board Sentinel-3 satellites, compared to the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) used in previous studies. Our results show that the C/M ratio from OLCI and MODIS is more correlated with the mean flow velocity than with other variables. To improve the number of observations, OLCI and MODIS products are combined into multi-mission time series. The integration provides good quality data at around daily resolution, appropriate for the analysis of the Po River investigated in this study. Finally, the combination of only MODIS products outperforms the other configurations with a frequency slightly lower (similar to 1.8 days).