Special Issue "Advances in Paleohydrology Using Remote Sensing"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrology and Hydrogeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Philippe Paillou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France
Interests: radar remote sensing; paleohydrology; desert study
Dr. Troy Sternberg
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6HY, UK
Interests: extreme climate hazards; water, steppe vegetation; desertification; social–environmental interaction
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Paleohydrology is concerned with the study of past hydrologic systems and their change with climate. The present-day geomorphology of deserts and arid lands still contains evidence of the hydrologic history of these environments, when local climate was wetter. Such evidence, in forms of paleorivers and paleolakes, showing alteration, deposition, and erosion processes, is usually retrieved from field observation, but remote sensing techniques have now matured enough to be able to provide valuable information from space. In particular, radar remote sensing techniques, which are able to image the near subsurface under dry sediments and can produce accurate topography using interferometry, have demonstrated their capacities to map ancient hydrologic systems in desert regions. In addition to their interest in understanding the climate history of current arid environments, such studies also provide key information for the prospecting of fossil water resources.

Prof. Philippe Paillou
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • paleohydrology
  • remote sensing
  • geomorphology
  • deserts and drylands
  • water resources

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Hydro-Isostatic Rebound Related to Megalake Chad (Holocene, Africa): First Numerical Modelling and Significance for Paleo-Shorelines Elevation
Water 2020, 12(11), 3180; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113180 - 13 Nov 2020
Viewed by 621
Abstract
Lake Chad, the largest freshwater lake of north-central Africa and one of the largest lakes of Africa, is the relict of a giant Quaternary lake (i.e., Megalake Chad) that developed during the early- to mid-Holocene African Humid Period. Over the drylands of the [...] Read more.
Lake Chad, the largest freshwater lake of north-central Africa and one of the largest lakes of Africa, is the relict of a giant Quaternary lake (i.e., Megalake Chad) that developed during the early- to mid-Holocene African Humid Period. Over the drylands of the Sahara Desert and the semi-arid Sahel region, remote sensing (optical satellite imagery and digital elevation models) proved a successful approach to identify the paleo-shorelines of this giant paleo-lake. Here we present the first attempt to estimate the isostatic response of the lithosphere due to Megalake Chad and its impact on the elevation of these paleo-shorelines. For this purpose, we use the open source TABOO software (University of Urbino, Italy) and test four different Earth models, considering different parameters for the lithosphere and the upper mantle, and the spatial distribution of the water mass. We make the simplification of an instantaneous drying-up of Megalake Chad, and compute the readjustment related to this instant unload. Results (i.e., duration, amplitude, and location of the deformation) are then discussed in the light of four key areas of the basin displaying prominent paleo-shoreline morpho-sedimentary features. Whatever the Earth model and simplification involved in the simulations, this work provides a strong first-order evaluation of the impact on hydro-isostasy of Megalake Chad. It demonstrates that a water body similar to this megalake would induce a significant deformation of the lithosphere in the form of a vertical differential uplift at basin-scale reaching up to 16 m in the deepest part of the paleo-lake, and its shorelines would then be deflected from 2 m (southern shorelines) to 12 m (northern shorelines), with a maximum rate of more than 1 cm y−1. As such, any future study related to the paleo-shorelines of Megalake Chad, should integrate such temporal and spatial variation of their elevations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Paleohydrology Using Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Groundwater Storage Changes in the Major North African Transboundary Aquifer Systems during the GRACE Era (2003–2016)
Water 2020, 12(10), 2669; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102669 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 742
Abstract
Groundwater is an essential component of the terrestrial water cycle and a key resource for supplying water to billions of people and for sustaining domestic and economic (agricultural and industrial) activities, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. The goal of this study is [...] Read more.
Groundwater is an essential component of the terrestrial water cycle and a key resource for supplying water to billions of people and for sustaining domestic and economic (agricultural and industrial) activities, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. The goal of this study is to analyze the recent groundwater changes which occurred in the major North African transboundary aquifers in the beginning of the 21st century. Groundwater storage anomalies were obtained by removing soil moisture in the root zone (and surface water in the case of the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System) from the terrestrial water storage anomalies estimated using the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) over the 2003–2016 time period. Spatio-temporal changes in groundwater storage contrast significantly among the different transboundary aquifers. Low changes (lower than 10 km3) were observed in the Tindouf Aquifer System but they were found to be highly correlated (R = 0.74) to atmospheric fluxes (precipitation minus evapotranspiration, P − ET) at annual scale. The GRACE data revealed huge water loss in the North Western Sahara and the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer Systems, above 30 km3 and around 50 km3, respectively. In the former case, the aquifer depletion can be attributed to both climate (R = 0.67 against P − ET) and water abstraction, and only to water abstraction in the latter case. The increase in water abstraction results from an increase in irrigated areas and population growth. For these two aquifers, a deceleration in the water loss observed after 2013 is likely to be attributed either to an increase in rainfall favoring rain-fed agriculture or to measures taken to reduce the over-exploitation of the groundwater resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Paleohydrology Using Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Paleohydrology of the Ephemeral Kuiseb River, Namibia, from Radar Remote Sensing
Water 2020, 12(5), 1441; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051441 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 880
Abstract
The Kuiseb River is one of the major ephemeral rivers of Western Namibia, setting the northern limit of the Namib Sand Sea and outflowing in the Atlantic Ocean at Walvis Bay. Such ephemeral rivers are of the highest importance for the country since [...] Read more.
The Kuiseb River is one of the major ephemeral rivers of Western Namibia, setting the northern limit of the Namib Sand Sea and outflowing in the Atlantic Ocean at Walvis Bay. Such ephemeral rivers are of the highest importance for the country since they are related both to recent past climatic conditions and to potential water resources. Using high-resolution radar images from the Japanese ALOS-2 satellite, we mapped for the first time the numerous channels hidden under the surface aeolian sediments: while the non-permanent tributaries of the Kuiseb River appear north of its present-day bed, a wide paleochannel system running westward, assumed by previous studies, could be clearly observed in the interdune valleys in the south. Radar-detected channels were studied during fieldwork in May 2019, which produced both subsurface ground-penetrating radar profiles and high-resolution drone-generated digital elevation models. It allowed us to confirm the existence of the “Paleo–Kuiseb” drainage system, a remnant of the Holocene history of the Kuiseb River, moving northward under the progression of the Namib Sand Sea. Our observations also contribute to the explanation of the young age of the linear dunes at the northern edge of the Namib Sand Sea, which are currently active and are pushing the Kuiseb River course toward the north. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Paleohydrology Using Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Mapping Paleohydrologic Features in the Arid Areas of Saudi Arabia Using Remote-Sensing Data
Water 2020, 12(2), 417; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020417 - 04 Feb 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1825
Abstract
At present, the Arabian Peninsula is one of the driest regions on Earth; however, this area experienced heavy rainfall in the past thousand years. During this period, catchments received substantial amounts of surface water and sustained vast networks of streams and paleolakes, which [...] Read more.
At present, the Arabian Peninsula is one of the driest regions on Earth; however, this area experienced heavy rainfall in the past thousand years. During this period, catchments received substantial amounts of surface water and sustained vast networks of streams and paleolakes, which are currently inactive. The Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Array Type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) data reveal paleohydrologic features buried under shallow aeolian deposits in many areas of the ad-Dawasir, Sahba, Rimah/Batin, and as-Sirhan wadis. Optical remote-sensing data support that the middle of the trans-peninsula Wadi Rimah/Batin, which extends for ~1200 km from the Arabian Shield to Kuwait and covers ~200,000 km2, is dammed by linear sand dunes formed by changes in climate conditions. Integrating Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI), Geo-Eye, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) digital elevation model, and ALOS/PALSAR data allowed for the characterization of paleodrainage reversals and diversions shaped by structural and volcanic activity. Evidence of streams abruptly shifting from one catchment to another is preserved in Wadi ad-Dawasir along the fault trace. Volcanic activity in the past few thousand years in northern Saudi Arabia has also changed the slope of the land and reversed drainage systems. Relics of earlier drainage directions are well maintained as paleoslopes and wide upstream patterns. This study found that paleohydrologic activity in Saudi Arabia is impacted by changes in climate and by structural and volcanic activity, resulting in changes to stream direction and activity. Overall, the integration of radar and optical remote-sensing data is significant for deciphering past hydrologic activity and for predicting potential water resource areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Paleohydrology Using Remote Sensing)
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