Improved remotely sensed satellite products for studying Lake Victoria's water storage changes
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Lake Victoria (LV), the world's second largest freshwater lake, supports a livelihood of more than 42 million people and modulates the regional climate. Studying its changes resulting from impacts of climate variation/change and anthropogenic is, therefore, vital for its sustainable use. Owing to its shear size, however, it is a daunting task to undertake such study relying solely on in-situ measurements, which are sparse, either missing, inconsistent or restricted by governmental red tapes. Remotely sensed products provide a valuable alternative but come with a penalty of being mostly incoherent with each other as they originate from different sources, have different underlying assumptions and models. This study pioneers a procedure that uses a Simple Weighting approach to merge LV's multi-mission satellite precipitation and evaporation data from various sources and then improves them through a Postprocessing Filtering (PF) scheme to provide coherent datasets of precipitation (p), evaporation (e), water storage changes (Δs), and discharge (q) that accounts for its water budget closure. Principal component analysis (PCA) is then applied to the merged-improved products to analyze LV's spatio-temporal changes resulting from impacts of climate variation/change. Compared to the original unmerged data (0.62 and 0.37 average correlation for two samples), the merged-improved products are largely in agreement (0.91 average correlation). Furthermore, smaller imbalances between the merged-improved products are obtained with precipitation (37%) and water storage changes (35%) being the largest contributors to LV's water budget. This data improvement scheme could be applicable to any inland lake of a size similar to LV.
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