Evaluation of CYGNSS Observations for Flood Detection and Mapping during Sistan and Baluchestan Torrential Rain in 2020
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionWater. 2020, 12 (7), . 10.3390/w12072047
Flood detection and produced maps play essential roles in policymaking, planning, and implementing flood management options. Remote sensing is commonly accepted as a maximum cost-effective technology to obtain detailed information over large areas of lands and oceans. We used remote sensing observations from Global Navigation Satellite System-Reflectometry (GNSS-R) to study the potential of this technique for the retrieval of flood maps over the regions affected by the recent flood in the southeastern part of Iran. The evaluation was made using spaceborne GNSS-R measurements over the Sistan and Baluchestan provinces during torrential rain in January 2020. This area has been at a high risk of flood in recent years and needs to be continuously monitored by means of timely observations. The main dataset was acquired from the level-1 data product of the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) spaceborne mission. The mission consisted of a constellation of eight microsatellites with GNSS-R sensors onboard to receive forward-scattered GNSS signals from the ocean and land. We first focused on data preparation and eliminating the outliers. Afterward, the reflectivity of the surface was calculated using the bistatic radar equations formula. The flooded areas were then detected based on the analysis of the derived reflectivity. Images from Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) were used for evaluation of the results. The analysis estimated the inundated area of approximately 19,644 km2 (including Jaz-Murian depression) to be affected by the flood in the south and middle parts of the Sistan and Baluchestan province. Although the main mission of CYGNSS was to measure the ocean wind speed in hurricanes and tropical cyclones, we showed the capability of detecting floods in the study area. The sensitivity of the spaceborne GNSS-R observations, together with the relatively short revisit time, highlight the potential of this technique to be used in flood detection. Future GNSS-R missions capable of collecting the reflected signals from all available multi-GNSS constellations would offer even more detailed information from the flood-affected areas.