Miles Clement

‌Miles Clement -

PhD Title:

Real-Time Estimation of Lake Volume and River Discharge from Satellite Altimetry and Remotely Sensed Imagery in Ungauged Basins


PhD Project Details:

Remote sensing provides the mechanism for forewarning the risks and potential loss of life due to water failure and flooding through the monitoring of reservoir and lake levels, and river discharge.  Further, many river catchments are managed with dams constructed for hydroelectric power, fisheries and water resource, and these dams often have a detrimental effect on livelihoods, particularly downstream, while river discharge across major catchments suffer from either lack of gauge data or data unavailability.  With precipitation data lacking in many parts of the world, information concerning water failure or flood events is often not communicated downstream with potentially catastrophic consequences.


Near real-time quantification of lake or reservoir levels and volumes, and river stage heights and discharge can be recovered from satellite altimetry, an estimation of the lake area or river width from near real-time satellite imagery and some mechanism to develop a stage-discharge relationship, perhaps based on a single gauge data or hydrological modelling.  This project will develop a near real-time capability for the latest delay-doppler type of altimeter (onboard the Cryosat-2 and Sentinel3 satellites) along with optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar imagery for river and reservoir extent.  The river mask will be used to both constrain the satellite altimetry to the inland water target, but also supply river width and lake extent for inferences of variations in discharge and lake volumes.


Such a capability will reduce the risk associated with water failure and floods, providing an early warning with time lapse of less than 24 hours, limited by the time that the quick look satellite altimetric waveforms are made available to the user.



Professor Phil Moore

Professor Chris Kilsby



NERC through the Data, Risk and Environmental Analytical Methods (DREAM) Centre of Doctoral Training



Miles graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2008 with a BSc in Environmental Science (2:1), before working in the oil and gas industry as a marine geophysicist.  An MSc in River Basin Dynamics and Management with GIS (Distinction) at the University of Leeds was to follow in 2015, before starting a PhD at Newcastle in October 2015 as part of the Data, Risk and Environmental Analytical Methods Centre for Doctoral Training (DREAM CDT).  His project involves estimating river discharge and lake volume from satellite remote sensing, and his main research interests are based around monitoring the environment using remote sensing, with a particular focus on hydrology.