Increase in suspended sediment discharge of the Amazon River assessed by monitoring network and satellite data

Abstract : This study addresses the quantification of the Amazon River sediment budget which has been assessed by looking at data from a suspended sediment discharge monitoring network and remote sensing estimates derived from MODIS spaceborne sensor. Surface suspended sediment concentration has been sampled every 10 days since 1995 (390 samples available) by the international HYBAM program at the Óbidos station which happens to be the last gauged station of the Amazon River before the Atlantic Ocean. Remote sensing reflectance is derived from continuous time series of 554 MODIS images available since 2000 and calibrated with the HYBAM field measurements. Discharge shows a weak correlation with the suspended sediment concentration during the annual hydrological cycle, preventing us from computing sediment discharge directly from the water discharge. Accordingly, river sediment discharge is assessed by multiplying daily water discharge measurements by the suspended sediment concentration averaged on a monthly basis. Comparisons of annual sediment discharge assessed using both field and satellite datasets show a very good agreement with a mean difference lower than 1%. Both field and satellite-derived estimates of the sediment concentration of the Amazon River are combined to get an uninterrupted monthly average suspended sediment discharge from 1995 to 2007. Unlike the water discharge which exhibits a steady trend over the same period at Óbidos, the 12-year suspended sediment discharge increases by about 20% since 1995, significant at the 99% level. In particular, the interannual variability is much more significant in the sediment discharge than in the river discharge.
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Jean-Michel Martinez, Guyot Jean-Loup, Naziano Filizola, Francis Sondag. Increase in suspended sediment discharge of the Amazon River assessed by monitoring network and satellite data. CATENA, Elsevier, 2009, pp.29. ⟨10.1016/j.catena.2009.05.011⟩. ⟨ird-00394090⟩

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