MODIS imagery based water content forecasting methodology for mountain rivers in Central Asia

J.B. Niyazov1*, O.Yu. Kalashnikova2, A.A. Gafurov3

1 Institute of Water Problems, Hydropower and Ecology of National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of  Tajikistan

2 Central-Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences (CAIAG), Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic

3 GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany

* Corresponding author:

O.Yu. Kalashnikova:; A.A. Gafurov:

Research paper


The article investigates the possibility of using snow cover satellite data for short-term hydrological forecasting for Central Asian rivers with high-altitude catchments.  The research aimed to elaborate a methodology for forecasting mean 10-day (decadal) river discharge (MDD) of the Varzob and Tar Rivers based on MODSNOW-processed MODIS satellite imagery.  The objectives of the study were to calculate the snow cover index (SCI) for high-altitude zones in 200 m increments for selected river basins, and to analyze the closeness of dependency between the corresponding SCIs and MDDs.  The research resulted in equations applicable for producing operational river water content forecasts.  Timely and reliable information on expected river water content during the forthcoming 10-day period allows decision makers (water management and hydropower agencies, emergency authorities) plan water supply for various economic sectors, as well as take measures to prevent hazardous hydrological phenomena on the rivers of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

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For citation:  Niyazov, J. B., Kalashnikova, O. Y. and Gafurov, A. A. (2020) ‘MODIS Imagery Based Water Content for Mountain Rivers in Central Asia Forecasting Methodology’, Central Asian Journal of Water Research, 6(2), pp. 66–78. doi: 10.29258/CAJWR/2020-R1.v6-2/66-78.eng.


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Central Asia, hydrological forecasting, snow cover, space imagery, water discharge