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Publication - Professor Paul Bates

    Development of the Global Width Database for Large Rivers

    Citation

    Yamazaki, D, O'Loughlin, F, Trigg, MA, Miller, ZF, Pavelsky, TM & Bates, PD, 2014, ‘Development of the Global Width Database for Large Rivers’. Water Resources Research, vol 50., pp. 3467-3480

    Abstract

    River width is a fundamental parameter of river hydrodynamic simulations, but no global-scale river width database based on observed water bodies has yet been developed. Here we present a new algorithm that automatically calculates river width from satellite-based water masks and flow direction maps. The Global Width Database for Large Rivers (GWD-LR) is developed by applying the algorithm to the SRTM Water Body Database and the HydroSHEDS flow direction map. Both bank-to-bank river width and effective river width excluding islands are calculated for river channels between 60S and 60N. The effective river width of GWD-LR is compared with existing river width databases for the Congo and Mississippi Rivers. The effective river width of the GWD-LR is slightly narrower compared to the existing databases, but the relative difference is within 20% for most river channels. As the river width of the GWD-LR is calculated along the river channels of the HydroSHEDS flow direction map, it is relatively straightforward to apply the GWD-LR to global and continental-scale river modeling.

    Key Points

    Global Width Database for Large Rivers (GWD-LR) based on satellite water mask River width of GWD-LR is calculated along the HydroSHEDS flow direction map GWD-LR shows good consistency to existing basin-scale river width data sets

    Full details in the University publications repository