Integrating global satellite-derived data products as a pre-analysis for hydrological modelling studies: a case study for the Red River Basin

Gijs Simons, Wim Bastiaanssen, L.A. Ngô, C.R. Hain, M. Anderson, G. Senay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


With changes in weather patterns and intensifying anthropogenic water use, there is an increasing need for spatio-temporal information on water fluxes and stocks in river basins. The assortment of satellite-derived open-access information sources on rainfall (P) and land use/land cover (LULC) is currently being expanded with the application of actual evapotranspiration (ETact) algorithms on the global scale. We demonstrate how global remotely sensed P and ETact datasets can be merged to examine hydrological processes such as storage changes and streamflow prior to applying a numerical simulation model. The study area is the Red River Basin in China in Vietnam, a generally challenging basin for remotely sensed information due to frequent cloud cover. Over this region, several satellite-based P and ETact products are compared, and performance is evaluated using rain gauge records and longer-term averaged streamflow. A method is presented for fusing multiple satellite-derived ETact estimates to generate an ensemble product that may be less susceptible, on a global basis, to errors in individual modeling approaches. Subsequently, monthly satellite-derived rainfall and ETact are combined to assess the water balance for individual subcatchments and types of land use, defined using a global land use classification improved based on auxiliary satellite data. It was found that a combination of TRMM rainfall and the ensemble ETact product is consistent with streamflow records in both space and time. It is concluded that monthly storage changes, multi-annual streamflow and water yield per LULC type in the Red River Basin can be successfully assessed based on currently available global satellite-derived products.
Original languageEnglish
Article number279
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2016


  • global satellite-derived data
  • intercomparison
  • evapotranspiration
  • Red River Basin
  • hydrological modeling
  • water accounting
  • OA-Fund TU Delft


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