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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2019-84
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2019-84
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: data description paper 01 Aug 2019

Submitted as: data description paper | 01 Aug 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD).

Global River Radar Altimetry Time Series (GRRATS): New River Elevation Earth Science Data Records for the Hydrologic Community

Stephen Coss1,2, Michael Durand1,2, Yuchan Yi1, Yuanyuan Jia1, Qi Guo1, Stephen Tuozzolo1, C. K. Shum1,6, George H. Allen3,4, Stéphane Calmant5, and Tamlin Pavelsky3 Stephen Coss et al.
  • 1School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 2Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • 3Department of Geological Sciences, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
  • 4Department of Geography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
  • 5IRD/LEGOS, 16 Avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
  • 6Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430077, China

Abstract. The capabilities of radar altimetry to measure inland water bodies are well established and several river altimetry datasets are available. Here we produced a globally-distributed dataset, the Global River Radar Altimeter Time Series (GRRATS), using Envisat and Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 radar altimeter data spanning the time period 2002–2016. We developed a method that runs unsupervised, without requiring parameterization at the measurement location, dubbed virtual station (VS) level and applied it to all altimeter crossings of ocean draining rivers with widths > 900 m (> 34 % of global drainage area). We evaluated every VS, either quantitatively for VS where in-situ gages are available, or qualitatively using a grade system. We processed nearly 1.5 million altimeter measurements from 1,478 VS. After quality control, the final product contained 810,403 measurements distributed over 932 VS located on 39 rivers. Available in-situ data allowed quantitative evaluation of 389 VS on 12 rivers. Median standard deviation of river elevation error is 0.93 m, Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency is 0.75, and correlation coefficient is 0.9. GRRATS is a consistent, well-documented dataset with a user-friendly data visualization portal, freely available for use by the global scientific community. Data are available at DOI 10.5067/PSGRA-SA2V1 (Durand et al., 2016).

Stephen Coss et al.
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Stephen Coss et al.
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Global River Radar Altimetry Time Series (GRRATS): New River Elevation Earth Science Data Records for the Hydrologic Community M. Durand, S. Coss, and D. Lettenmaier https://doi.org/10.5067/PSGRA-SA2V1

Stephen Coss et al.
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Short summary
We present a new radar altimeter satellite measured river surface height dataset. Our novel approach is broadly applicable rather than location specific. We were able to measure rivers that account for > 34 % of global drainage area with an accuracy comparable to much of the established literature. 389 of our 932 measurement locations include river gage validation. We have focused our efforts on creating a consistent, well documented data product to encourage use by the broader science community.
We present a new radar altimeter satellite measured river surface height dataset. Our novel...
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