Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
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Remote sensing applied to river monitoring adds complementary information useful for understanding the system behaviour. In this paper, we present a method for visual stage gauging and water surface width measurement using a ground-based time-lapse camera and a fully automatic image analysis algorithm for flow monitoring at a river cross section of a steep, bouldery channel. The remote stage measurement was coupled with a water level logger (pressure transducer) on site and shows that the image-based method gives a reliable estimate of the water height variation and daily flow record when validated against the pressure transducer (R = 0.91). From the remotely sensed pictures, we also extracted the water width and show that it is possible to correlate water surface width and stage. The images also provide valuable ancillary information for interpreting and understanding flow hydraulics and site weather conditions. This image-based gauging method is a reliable, informative and inexpensive alternative or adjunct to conventional stage measurement especially for remote sites.
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