The potential of hybrid gravimetry for hydrology; application to a sudanian catchment (West Africa)

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 2:15 PM
Basile Hector1, Jacques Hinderer1 and Luc Séguis2, (1)Institut de Physique du Globe Strasbourg, Strasbourg Cedex, France, (2)IRD, Hydrosciences Montpellier, Université Montpellier 2, France, Montpellier, France
The temporal and spatial variations of water storage are major unknowns of the hydrological cycle. They define the state of a hydrological system, which is critical for budget and process studies, like for instance threshold-governed subsurface redistribution, or water availability for evapotranspiration. Ground-based gravity measurements provide integrated (on a few tens of meters radius, the ‘plot’ scale) response to water storage changes (WSC) signal, which depends on mass and location changes of underground water. This information may be used for instance for process identification, for budget estimates, for specific yield retrieval, or for hypothesis testing through hydrological modeling. We try to address some of these issues based on our experience of a small catchment in the hard-rock Sudanian area of West-Africa (Djougou, northern Benin), where three state-of-art gravimeters have been deployed: a GWR superconducting gravimeter (SG), a Micro-g FG5 absolute gravimeter and a Scintrex CG5 microgravimeter. Spatial (i.e. at the catchment scale) distribution of WSC may be obtained using a hybrid gravimetry (CG5 + SG) approach. Significant hydrological information may be gained from gravity measurements, as long as these are analyzed in a joint approach, together with near-surface geophysics and hydrological monitoring for instance.