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Analysis of Floodplain Dynamics in the Atrato River Colombia Using SAR Interferometry

Palomino-Ángel, Sebastián and Anaya-Acevedo, Jesús A. and Simard, Marc and Liao, Tien-Hao and Jaramillo, Fernando (2019) Analysis of Floodplain Dynamics in the Atrato River Colombia Using SAR Interferometry. Water, 11 (5). Art. No. 875. ISSN 2073-4441. doi:10.3390/w11050875.

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Floodplain water flows have large volumetric flowrates and high complexity in space and time that are difficult to understand using water level gauges. We here analyze the spatial and temporal fluctuations of surface water flows in the floodplain of the Atrato River, Colombia, in order to evaluate their hydrological connectivity. The basin is one of the rainiest areas of the world with wetland ecosystems threatened by the expansion of agriculture and mining activities. We used 16 Differential Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radars (DInSAR) phase observations from the ALOS-PALSAR L-band instrument acquired between 2008–2010 to characterize the flow of surface water. We were able to observe water level change in vegetated wetland areas and identify flooding patterns. In the lower basin, flow patterns are conditioned by fluctuations in the levels of the main river channel, whereas in the middle basin, topography and superficial channels strongly influence the flow and connectivity. We found that the variations in water level in a station on the main channel 87 km upstream explained more than 56% of the variations in water level in the floodplain. This result shows that, despite current expansion of agriculture and mining activities, there remain significant hydrological connectivity between wetlands and the Atrato River. This study demonstrates the use of DInSAR for a spatially comprehensive monitoring of the Atrato River basin hydrology. For the first time, we identified the spatiotemporal patterns of surface water flow of the region. We recommend these observations serve as a baseline to monitor the potential impact of ongoing human activities on surface water flows across the Atrato River basin.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Palomino-Ángel, Sebastián0000-0001-6970-9075
Anaya-Acevedo, Jesús A.0000-0001-8242-5712
Liao, Tien-Hao0000-0002-0678-5545
Jaramillo, Fernando0000-0002-6769-0136
Additional Information:© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( Received: 1 March 2019; Revised: 4 April 2019; Accepted: 6 April 2019; Published: 26 April 2019. Author Contributions: Conceptualization, S.P.-Á. and F.J.; Methodology, S.P.-Á. and F.J.; Software, S.P.-Á. and F.J.; Validation, S.P.-Á., T.-H.L.; Formal analysis, S.P.-Á., J.A.A.-A. and F.J.; Investigation, S.P.-Á. and F.J.; resources, S.P.-Á., J.A.A.-A., M.S. and F.J.; data curation, S.P.-Á. and F.J.; writing—original draft preparation, S.P.-Á.; writing—review and editing, S.P.-Á., J.A.-A., M.S., T.-H.L. and F.J.; visualization, S.P.-Á. and F.J.; supervision, J.A.A.-A., F.J. and M.S.; project administration, F.J. and M.S.; funding acquisition, F.J. and M.S. This research was funded by the Colombian Department of Science, Technology and Innovation (COLCIENCIAS), under the High-level training program National Doctorates scholarship (Call code 647 for 2014). The Swedish Research Council (VR, project 2015-06503) and the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning FORMAS (942-2015-740) have also funded this study. The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) project IB2018-7494 has also funded traveling and publishing of this study. Part of this work was performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. PALSAR data was obtained from the Vertex data portal of the Alaska Satellite Facility. The onsite measuring station data was obtained from the Colombian Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies in Colombia (IDEM) online portal. The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Departamento Administrativo de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (COLCIENCIAS)UNSPECIFIED
Swedish Research Council2015-06503
Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning942-2015-740
Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT)IB2018-7494
Subject Keywords:DInSAR; surface water flows; hydrological connectivity; wetlands; water level change
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190430-082407024
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Palomino-Ángel, S.; Anaya-Acevedo, J.A.; Simard, M.; Liao, T.-H.; Jaramillo, F. Analysis of Floodplain Dynamics in the Atrato River Colombia Using SAR Interferometry. Water 2019, 11, 875.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:95107
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Apr 2019 15:55
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:10

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