HWRM - Hydrology and Water Resources Management – HWRM New Satellite Techniques for Hydrology and Water Management of Alpine Regions

The project supports the scientific preparations for the CoRe-H2O mission (COld REgions Hydrology High-resolutionObservatory).

Short Description

CoRe-H 2 O was proposed to ESA by an international team under the lead of H. Rott (ENVEO) in response to the 2005 Call for Ideas for the next ESA Earth Explorer Core missions. The mission was selected by ESA for further technical and scientific studies. CoRe-H 2 O addresses the need for improved, spatially detailed measurements of snow and ice from regional to global scales in order to advance the understanding of the role of the cryosphere in the climate system and to improve the knowledge and prediction of water cycle variability and changes in cold environment.

CoRe-H 2 O features an innovative sensor, a dual polarized, dual frequency (Ku- and X-band) imaging radar (SAR). These short radar wavelengths are particularly sensitive to physical properties of snow and ice.

The main objective of the project HWRM is the development of methods for retrieval of snow and ice parameters from Ku- and X-band SAR measurements. The development work is based on field experiments and theoretical backscatter modelling. Forward models were applied to study the sensitivity of the different frequencies and polarizations for measuring physical properties of snow and ice and to develop concepts for inversion of the radar measurements.

Several field campaigns with airborne scatterometer and ground- based SAR were carried out in winter 2006/07 in the Austrian Alps and in Colorado in cooperation with the international project partners. Prototype algorithms for retrieval of snow and ice parameters from high frequency SAR have been developed. Sample snow and ice data products have been produced from airborne test data sets and from satellite-borne scatterometry to demonstrate the performance of the inversion algorithms.

The project results are of great importance for scientific preparation of the CoRe-H 2 O mission. The work is also very relevant for improved Earth Observation based services in hydrology and water management of mountain areas and snow covered regions, as addressed by GMES and the climate observing system GCOS.

The project is carried out in co-operation with

  • Institute for Computational Earth System Science (ICESS), University of California, CA, USA
  • eOsphere Ltd, West Woodhay Newbury Berkshire, UK
  • National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center NOHRSC, NWS / NOAA , Chanhassen, MN, USA
  • NASA / JPL, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • Department of Aerospace, Power and Sensors, University of Cranfield, Swindon, UK

Project Partners


ENVEO - Environmental Earth Observation IT GmbH

Contact Address