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Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research



The Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research (WATER) is a simultaneous airborne, satellite-borne, and ground-based remote sensing experiment aiming to improve the observability, understanding, and predictability of hydrological and related ecological processes at a catchment scale. WATER consists of the cold region, forest, and arid region hydrological experiments as well as a hydrometeorology experiment and took place in the Heihe River Basin, a typical inland river basin in the northwest of China. The field campaigns have been completed, with an intensive observation period lasting from 7 March to 12 April, from 15 May to 22 July, and from 23 August to 5 September 2008: in total, 120 days. Twenty-five airborne missions were flown. Airborne sensors including microwave radiometers at L, K, and Ka bands, imaging spectrometer, thermal imager, CCD, and lidar were used. Various satellite data were collected. Ground measurements were carried out at four scales, that is, key experimental area, foci experimental area, experiment site, and elementary sampling plot, using ground-based remote sensing instruments, densified network of automatic meteorological stations, flux towers, and hydrological stations. On the basis of these measurements, the remote sensing retrieval models and algorithms of water cycle variables are to be developed or improved, and a catchment-scale land/hydrological data assimilation system is being developed. This paper reviews the background, scientific objectives, experiment design, filed campaign implementation, and current status of WATER. The analysis of the data will continue over the next 2 years, and limited revisits to the field are anticipated.


  • Arid region hydrology
  • Cold region hydrology
  • Remote sensing


Li X, Li XW, Li ZY, Ma MG, Wang J, Xiao Q, Liu Q, Che T, Chen EX, Yan GJ, Hu ZY, Zhang LX, Chu RZ, Su PX, Liu QH, Liu SM, Wang JD, Niu Z, Chen Y, Jin R, Wang WZ, Ran YH, Xin XZ, Ren HZ. Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2009, 114(D22103), doi:10.1029/2008JD011590.

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