Investigating the Drivers of Total Suspended Sediment Regime in the Senegal River Basin Using Landsat 8 Satellite Images

Cheikh Faye 1 , Manuela Grippa 2 , Laurent Kergoat 2 ,  and Elodie Robert 3
  • 1 Department of Geography, Laboratoire de Géomatique et d’Environnement, Senegal
  • 2 Geosciences Environnement Toulouse, University of Toulouse III, France
  • 3 CNRS, University of Nantes, UMR LETG, , France

Abstract

Because total suspended sediments (TSS) influence the penetration of light into the water column and are likely to carry pollutants and nutrients, their study is essential for understanding the functioning of African river ecosystems. If the estimation of solid transport is important in the context of hydro-agricultural developments, its quantification often poses a problem. In addition, in situ data for these areas are rare and, as a result, the environmental factors responsible for the variability of TSS can hardly be understood. This work aims to evaluate the spatiotemporal variability of TSS in the surface waters of the Senegal River using satellite data over the 2014-2018 period. The spatio-temporal dynamics of TSS is reconstructed using a relationship established on several West African sites between in situ data from TSS and satellite reflectances from Landsat 8. These data allow analyzing the relationship between TSS and factors such as rainfall and discharge. We found that the TSS peaks in Bakel coincide with the arrival of the first rains and are followed by peaks in discharge with a lag of 2 months. A time lag between TSS and discharge peaks is also observed on its tributaries like the River Falémé. Concerning the spatial variability, TSS generally increase from the river upstream to the downstream and decrease in the Senegal delta after the Diama dam. The analysis of the TSS upstream and downstream of the Manantali dam, in the upstream area, confirms the relatively low sediment deposits in the dam lake.

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