IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Time-lapse imagery to monitor ephemeral and intermittent streams 

Simone Noto1, Flavia Tauro2, Gianluca Botter1, and Salvatore Grimaldi2
Simone Noto et al.
  • 1Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Padua, Padova, Italy (simone.noto@phd.unipd.it, gianluca.botter@unipd.it)
  • 2Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-food and Forest Systems , University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy (flavia.tauro@unitus.it, salvatore.grimaldi@unitus.it )

While the interest in ephemeral and intermittent streams increased in the last few decades, monitoring such watercourses remains a major challenge in hydrology. Direct field observations are best to detect spatial patterns of flow persistence, but they are time and labour intensive and may be impractical in difficult-to-access environments. Moreover, instrumentation deployed in the riverbed can provide information about the presence/absence of water, nevertheless these methods lack in streamflow quantification. Motivated by latest advancements in computer vision hardware and software, we proposed the development and application of a stage-camera system to monitor the water level in ungauged headwater streams. This system encompasses a camera with near infrared (NIR) night vision capabilities and a pole that serves as reference object in the collected images. To evaluate the efficacy of this system in the detection of river dynamics, a set of 22 stage-camera stations was installed along the entire river network at the 4 km2 Montecalvello catchment, near Viterbo (VT, Italy). Time-lapse imagery was processed through a computationally inexpensive algorithm featuring simple image-based operations. The feasibility of this approach is demonstrated through a set of benchmark measurements obtained from a supervised procedure. Preliminary evaluations are encouraging and support the usability of this approach in monitoring ephemeral and intermittent streams dynamics.

How to cite: Noto, S., Tauro, F., Botter, G., and Grimaldi, S.: Time-lapse imagery to monitor ephemeral and intermittent streams , IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022, Montpellier, France, 29 May–3 Jun 2022, IAHS2022-334, https://doi.org/10.5194/iahs2022-334, 2022.