Global Earth Observation for integrated water resource assessment


The project eartH2Observe brings together the findings from European FP projects DEWFORA, GLOWASIS, WATCH, GEOWOW and others. It will integrate available global earth observations (EO), in-situ datasets and models and will construct a global water resources re-analysis dataset of significant length (several decades). The resulting data will allow for improved insights on the full extent of available water and existing pressures on global water resources in all parts of the water cycle. The project will support efficient and globally consistent water management and decision making by providing comprehensive multi-scale (regional, continental and global) water resources observations. It will test new EO data sources, extend existing processing algorithms and combine data from multiple satellite missions in order to improve the overall resolution and reliability of EO data included in the re-analysis dataset. The usability and operational value of the developed data will be verified and demonstrated in a number of case-studies across the world that aim to improve the efficiency of regional water distribution. The case-studies will be conducted together with local end-users and stakeholders. Regions of interest cover multiple continents, a variety of hydrological, climatological and governance conditions and differ in degree of data richness (e.g. the Mediterranean and Baltic region, Ethiopia, Colombia, Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh). The data will be disseminated though an open data Water Cycle Integrator portal to ensure increased availability of global water resources information on both regional and global scale. The data portal will be the European contributor to the existing GEOSS water cycle platforms and communities. Project results will be actively disseminated using a combination of traditional methods (workshops, papers, website and conferences) and novel methods such as E-learning courses and webinars that promote the use of the developed dataset.

CESR's contribution within eartH2Observe is to use high-resolution/high-quality ground validation datasets to assess the performance of the different EO products based on error metrics developed in connection with end-user criteria to be identified within the project. Here, stochastic hydrologic error propagation is used to understand the issue of the competing trade-off between complex precipitation errors and hydrologic modelling at the finest scale, based on the ensemble error modelling. To assess the error propagation in runoff, all participating models will be forced by the ensemble rainfall fields. The effect of satellite estimation uncertainty (resolution and retrieval error) in hydrological modelling will be examined. Furthermore, WaterGAP3 is applied to develop a global water resources reanalysis dataset and hence, contributes to a Multi-Model Water Resources Reanalysis. By using different EO datasets, WaterGAP3 will be further improved to better represent water cycle processes. Within a case-study assessment, the water quality model WorldQual is used to estimate lake water quality and to test new EO products and algorithm

Funding agency

Europäische Kommission

Project duration

January 2014  − December 2017

Project management

Martina Flörke