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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2018-87
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2018-87
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  22 Aug 2018

22 Aug 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD).

Multi-source global wetland maps combining surface water imagery and groundwater constraints

Ardalan Tootchi, Anne Jost, and Agnès Ducharne Ardalan Tootchi et al.
  • Sorbonne Université, CNRS, EPHE, Milieux environnementaux, transferts et interaction dans les hydrosystèmes et les sols, Metis, 75005 Paris, France

Abstract. Many maps of open water and wetlands have been developed based on three main methods: (i) compiling national/regional wetland surveys; (ii) identifying inundated areas via satellite imagery; and (iii) delineating wetlands as shallow water table areas based on groundwater modelling. However, the resulting global wetland extents vary from 3% to 21% of the land surface area because of inconsistencies in wetland definitions and limitations in observation or modelling systems. To reconcile these differences, we propose composite wetland (CW) maps, combining two classes of wetlands: (1) regularly flooded wetlands (RFW) obtained by overlapping selected open-water and inundation datasets; and (2) groundwater-driven wetlands (GDW) derived from groundwater modelling (either direct or simplified using several variants of the topographic index). Wetlands are statically defined as areas with persistent near-saturated soil surfaces because of regular flooding or shallow groundwater. Seven CW maps were generated at the 15arc-sec resolution (ca 500m at the Equator) using geographic information system (GIS) tools and by combining one RFW and different GDW maps. To validate this approach, these CW maps were compared with existing wetland datasets at the global and regional scales. The spatial patterns were decently captured, but the wetland extents were difficult to assess against the dispersion of the validation datasets. Compared with the only regional dataset encompassing both GDWs and RFWs, over France, the CW maps performed well and better than all other considered global wetland datasets. Two CW maps, showing the best overall match with the available evaluation datasets, were eventually selected. These maps provided global wetland extents of 27.5 and 29 millionkm², i.e., 21.1% and 21.6% of global land area, which are among the highest values in the literature and in line with recent estimates also recognizing the contribution of GDWs. This wetland class covers 15% of the global land area compared with 9.7% for RFW (with an overlap of ca. 3.4%), including wetlands under canopy/cloud cover, leading to high wetland densities in the tropics and small scattered wetlands that cover less than 5% of land but are highly important for hydrological and ecological functioning in temperate to arid areas. By distinguishing the RFWs and GDWs based globally on uniform principles, the proposed dataset might be useful for large-scale land surface modelling (hydrological, ecological and biogeochemical modelling) and environmental planning. The dataset consisting of the two selected CW maps and the contributing GDW and RFW maps is available from PANGAEA at https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.892657

Ardalan Tootchi et al.
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Ardalan Tootchi et al.
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Multi-source global wetland maps combining surface water imagery and groundwater constraints A. Tootchi, A. Jost, and A. Ducharne https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.892657

Ardalan Tootchi et al.
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Short summary
Wetlands role at regional and global scale depends on their distribution and extent which is highly uncertain in literature. We developed comprehensive wetland maps by a mixed use of satellite imagery products and ground water modelling. These high resolution maps encompasses from regularly flooded to non-flooded groundwater wetlands, covering more than 21 % of land surface area which is among the highest estimates. Wetlands are particularly concentrated over the tropics and northern cold zones.
Wetlands role at regional and global scale depends on their distribution and extent which is...
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