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Estuaries of European Rivers observed by ALOS PALSAR

Susanne Lehner(1), Stephan Brusch(1), Andreas Niedermeier(1) and Antonio Reppucci(1)

(1) DLR, Oberpfaffenhofen, D82234 Wessling, Germany

Abstract

The shipping lanes into large European River Estuaries are monitored using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). ALOS PALSAR as well as ERS-2 SAR and ENVISAT ASAR data are used to investigate the safety of shipping for the rivers Seine, Thames, Schelde and Elbe.

Due to the tides the river estuaries are subject to large changes in water level and high current speeds and incoming swell from the open ocean propagating upstream. These environmental conditions together with adverse weather and dense traffic make the North Sea and the European Coast of the Atlantic one of the most dangerous areas for shipping.

SAR images are used to derive the near coastal wind field, the sea state and the currents at the estuaries. The results are validated using buoy, marine radar and HF radar instrumentation. Results from high resolution coastal models of wind field, sea state and currents from the German weather service and the hydrographic office are compared to the SAR measurements. Possible improvement by using remote sensing data is discussed.

A time series of SAR images from different sensors beginning in 1991 is used to investigate the changes in the shipping lanes due to human activities and morpho-dynamics.

The ships detected on the SAR images are compared to AIS data and examples of ship accidents that happened during severe weather events are given.

The work was performed in the framework of the AO 3624 for ALOS ADEN.

 

Symposium presentation

 

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