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The Use of Remotely Sensed data for Integrated Hydrological Modelling in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions: the SUDMED Program


Chehbouni Abdelghani

Recent efforts have been concentrated in the development of models to understand and predict the impact of environmental changes on hydrological cycle and water resources in arid and semi-arid regions. In this context, remote sensing data have been widely used to initialize, to force or to control the simulations of these models. However, for several reasons, including the difficulty in establishing relationships between observational and model variables, the potential offered by satellite data has not been fully used. As a matter of fact, a few hydrological studies that use remote sensing data emanating from different sources (sensors, platforms) have been performed. In this context, the SUDMED program has been designed to address the issue of improving our understanding the hydrological functioning of a semi-arid basin, with an emphasis on model development and/or refinement for investigating the hydrological responses to future scenarii about climate change and human pressure, as well as the effective use of remote sensing observations in conjunction with process models to providing operational prognostics to improve management of water resources. The objective of this paper is to present the SUDMED program, its objectives and its trust areas, and to provide an overview of the results obtained in the first phase of the program. Finally the the lessons learned, future objectives and the unsolved issues are presented.

Key words: Semi-arid, land-surface interactions, remote sensing, desegregation, aggregation, snow processes, surface hydrology, ground water hydrology.