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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(4), 1651-1680; doi:10.3390/rs5041651

Water Balance Modeling in a Semi-Arid Environment with Limited in situ Data Using Remote Sensing in Lake Manyara, East African Rift, Tanzania

1
Remote Sensing Group, Institute of Geology, Faculty of Geosciences, Geoengineering and Mining, Freiberg University of Mining and Technology (TUBAF), Bernhard-von-Cotta Str. 2, D-09596 Freiberg, Germany
2
Department of Geomatics, School of Geospatial Sciences and Technology (SGST), Ardhi University, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
3
Remote Sensing Group, Helmholtz Institute Freiberg of Resource Technology, Halsbrueckerstr. 34, D-09599 Freiberg, Germany
4
Thüringer Landesanstalt für Umwelt und Geologie (TLUG), Abteilung 5–Wasserwirtschaft–Referat 51. Gewässerkundlicher Landesdienst, Hochwassernachrichtenzentrale. Göschwitzer Str. 41, D-07745 Jena
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 February 2013 / Revised: 22 March 2013 / Accepted: 26 March 2013 / Published: 2 April 2013
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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to estimate the water balance in a semi-arid environment with limited in situ data using a remote sensing approach. We focus on the Lake Manyara catchment, located within the East African Rift of northern Tanzania. We use a distributed conceptual hydrological model driven by remote sensing data to study the spatial and temporal variability of water balance parameters within the catchment. Satellite gravimetry GRACE data is used to verify the trends of the inferred lake level changes. The results show that the lake undergoes high spatial and temporal variations, characteristic of a semi-arid climate with high evaporation and low rainfall. We observe that the Lake Manyara water balance and GRACE equivalent water depth show comparable trends; a decrease after 2002 followed by a sharp increase in 2006–2007. Our modeling confirms the importance of the 2006–2007 Indian Ocean Dipole fluctuation in replenishing the groundwater reservoirs of East Africa. We thus demonstrate that water balance modeling can be performed successfully using remote sensing data even in complex climatic settings. Despite the small size of Lake Manyara, GRACE data showed great potential for hydrological research on smaller un-gauged lakes and catchments in similar semi-arid environments worldwide. The water balance information can be used for further analysis of lake variations in relation to soil erosion, climate and land cover/land use change as well as different lake management and conservation scenarios. View Full-Text
Keywords: semi-arid; water balance; remote sensing; rainfall; evapotranspiration; runoff; GRACE semi-arid; water balance; remote sensing; rainfall; evapotranspiration; runoff; GRACE
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Deus, D.; Gloaguen, R.; Krause, P. Water Balance Modeling in a Semi-Arid Environment with Limited in situ Data Using Remote Sensing in Lake Manyara, East African Rift, Tanzania. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 1651-1680.

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