Huo, A., Chen, X., Li, H., Hou, M. and Hou, X. 2011. Development and testing of a remote sensing-based model for estimating groundwater levels in aeolian desert areas of China. Can. J. Soil Sci. 91: 29-37. Regional groundwater level is an important data set for understanding the relationships between groundwater resources and regional ecological environments. The decline in water table levels leads to vegetation degradation and thus affects the ecological environment. Such a negative effect is especially apparent in the desertification areas. In this study, a remote-sensing based method was proposed to predict the distribution of the regional groundwater level in an aeolian desert area in northern China. The study used the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) remote sensing data and field investigations. Based on field investigation of groundwater level, soil moisture, and other supporting information in the aeolian desert area, as well as the soil moisture distribution derived from the MODIS images, empirical equations describing the relationship between the soil moisture and groundwater level were obtained. The groundwater levels derived using the MODIS image data were verified by groundwater levels measured from 58 wells. The results show that the correlation coefficient between the measured groundwater levels and the remote sensing-based estimated water levels was 0.868, indicating that the error is small and the predictions closely reflect the real water levels. This model can be used to predict groundwater levels in aeolian desert areas based on remote sensing data sets.
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