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Dr Belen Marti-Cardona PhD MSc MEng CICCP

Lecturer in Earth Observation and Hydrology


Areas of specialism

Remote sensing; Hydrological and hydraulic modelling; Water Resources Sustainability

University roles and responsibilities

  • Lecturer in Water Resources Management and Hydraulic Modelling (ENGM057)
  • Lecturer in GIS and Remote Sensing (ENGM285)
  • Lecturer in Environmental Engineering and Hydrology (ENG3177)
  • Lecturer in Hydraulics and Environmental Quality (ENG2101)

My qualifications


My publications


Ruiz-Villanueva V, Bladé E, Sánchez-Juny M, Marti-Cardona B, Díez-Herrero A, Bodoque JM (2014) Two-dimensional numerical modeling of wood transport, Journal of Hydroinformatics 16 (5) pp. 1077-1096 IWA Publishing
The transport of wood material in rivers has been the subject of various studies in recent years. Most research has focused on the ecological and geomorphologic role of wood, its recruitment processes and spatial distribution in streams. In this study, we focused on wood transport dynamics, and we have developed a numerical model to simulate wood transport coupled with a two-dimensional (2D) hydrodynamic model. For this purpose, wood drag forces were incorporated as additional source terms into the shallow water equations, which are solved together with wood transport by using the finite volume method. This new tool has been implemented as a computational module into ?Iber?, a 2D hydraulic simulation software. The new module analyzes the initial motion threshold of wood based on the balance of forces involved in the wood?s movement, and computes the position and velocity of differently shaped logs using a kinematic approach. The method also considers the interaction between the logs themselves and between the logs and the channel walls or boundaries. Flume experiments were used in a straight channel with obstructions to validate the model?s capacity to accurately reproduce the movement of floating logs
Marti-Cardona B, López-Martínez C, Dolz-Ripolles J (2012) Local texture stationarity indicator for filtering DoÑana wetlands SAR images., IGARSS pp. 4903-4906 IEEE
Marti-Cardona B, Arbat-Bofill M, Prats-Rodríguez J, Pipia L (2016) Thermal remote sensing for reservoir modelling and management, Proc. ?Living Planet Symposium 2016?, Prague, Czech Republic, 9?13 May 2016 (ESA SP-740, August 2016) ESA Communications
ASTER and Landsat images were used for mapping the water surface temperature in the Sobrón, Mequinenza and Ribarroja reservoirs in the Ebro River, Spain. The spatially continuous information in these maps reveals the impact of the reservoir on the river natural thermal gradient in two different periods of the year. It also evidences the thermal impact intensity and extent of the refrigeration flow discharge from a nuclear power plant located on the river bank.
The high spatial resolution images of the Ribarroja reservoir, acquired by the airborne hyperspectral TASI sensor, show spatial patterns which complemented the in-situ point measurements and contributed valuable data for validating the three-dimensional thermo-hydrodynamic model of the reservoir.
Marti-Cardona B, López-Martínez C, Dolz-Ripolles J (2009) Analysis of ASAR/Envisat Polarimetric Backscattering Characteristics of Doñana National Park Wetlands., IGARSS (3) pp. 721-724 IEEE
Marti-Cardona B, López-Martínez C, Dolz-Ripollés J (2014) Local Isotropy Indicator for SAR Image Filtering: Application to Envisat/ASAR Images of the Doñana Wetland (November 2014), IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing 8 (4) pp. 1614-1622 IEEE
This paper explores a geometrical and computationally simple operator, named Ds, for local isotropy assessment on SAR images. It is assumed that isotropic intensity distributions in natural areas, either textured or nontextured, correspond to a single cover class. Ds is used to measure isotropy in processing neighborhoods and decide if they can be considered as belonging to a unique cover class. The speckle statistical properties are used to determine suitable Ds thresholds for discriminating heterogeneous targets from isotropic cover types at different window sizes. An assessment of Ds as an edge detector showed sensitivities similar to those of the ratio edge operator for straight, sharp boundaries, centered in the processing window, but significantly better sensitivity for detecting heterogeneities during the window expansion in multiresolution filtering. Furthermore, Ds presents the advantage versus the ratio edge coefficient of being rotationally invariant, and its computation indicates the direction of the main intensity gradient in the processing window. The Ds operator is used in a multiresolution fashion for filtering ASAR scenes of the Doñana wetland. The intensities in isotropic areas are averaged in order to flatten fluctuations within cover types and facilitate a subsequent land cover classification. The results show high degree of smoothing within textured cover classes, plus effective spatial adaptation to gradients and irregular boundaries, substantiating the usefulness of this operator for filtering SAR data of natural areas with the purpose of classification.
Marti-Cardona B., Prats J. (2018) Reservoir Thermal Impact Captured by Satellite Images, Proceedings of the 5th IAHR Europe Congress - New Challenges in Hydraulic Research and Engineering pp. 439-440 Research Publishing, Singapore
We used Landsat 8 thermal images to study the longitudinal
patterns of surface water temperature in the
Mequinenza reservoir, Spain, in 2016. We also estimated
its thermal impact on the river by comparing
upstream and downstream temperatures.
Marti-Cardona B., Pipia L., Rodríguez-Máñez E., Sánchez-Tueros H. (2017) Teledetección de la evapotranspiración y cambio de cubiertas en la cuenca del Río Locumba, Perú, Procedings of XXVII Congreso Latinoamericano de Hidráulica, IAHR pp. 940-941
Los humedales de alta montaña conocidos como bofedales constituyen un hábitat indispensable para numerosas especies, entre las
que se encuentran los camélidos. En las últimas décadas se ha observado la recesión de algunos bofedales y lagunas andinas. En la
cuenca del rio Locumba, Perú, se ha postulado que esta recesión puede estar ligada al consumo de los recursos hídricos para usos
agrícolas y mineros. El estudio que aquí se presenta utiliza imágenes satelitales para determinar la superficie de agua en las
principales lagunas naturales, así como el área ocupada por los bofedales y la superficie agrícola,desde la década de los 70 hasta la
actualidad. La tarea incluye además el cómputo de la evapotranspiración real en las áreas cultivadas de la cuenca a partir de dos
imágenes recientes correspondientes a los períodos seco y húmedo. La teledetección aporta de este modo una serie histórica de
datos espaciales cuantitativos de gran valor para determinar la variación de cubiertas naturales e investigar sus causas.
Ramos-Fuertes Anaïs, Marti-Cardona Belen, Bladé Ernest, Dolz Josep (2013) Envisat/ASAR Images for the Calibration of Wind Drag Action in the Doñana Wetlands 2D Hydrodynamic Model, Remote Sensing 6 (1) pp. 379-406 MDPI
Doñana National Park wetlands are located in southwest Spain, on the right bank of the Guadalquivir River, near the Atlantic Ocean coast. The wetlands dry out completely every summer and progressively flood again throughout the fall and winter seasons. Given the flatness of Doñana?s topography, the wind drag action can induce the flooding or emergence of extensive areas, detectable in remote sensing images. Envisat/ASAR scenes acquired before and during strong and persistent wind episodes enabled the spatial delineation of the wind-induced water displacement. A two-dimensional hydrodynamic model of Doñana wetlands was built in 2006 with the aim to predict the effect of proposed hydrologic restoration actions within Doñana?s basin. In this work, on-site wind records and concurrent ASAR scenes are used for the calibration of the wind-drag modeling by assessing different formulations. Results show a good adjustment between the modeled and observed wind drag effect. Displacements of up to 2 km in the wind direction are satisfactorily reproduced by the hydrodynamic model, while including an atmospheric stability parameter led to no significant improvement of the results. Such evidence will contribute to a more accurate simulation of hypothetic or design scenarios, when no information is available for the atmospheric stability assessment.
Marti-Cardona B., Arbat Bofill M., Prats J., Pipia L., Dolz Ripollés J. (2015) La teledetección para el estudio del comportamiento térmico de embalses, Proceedings of the XVI Congreso de la Asociación Española de Teledetección (AET), Sevilla, España pp. 374-377 Asociación española de teledetección desde
ASTER images were used for mapping the water surface temperature in the Mequinenza and the Ribarroja
reservoirs, on the Ebro River. The spatially continuous information of these maps reveals the impact of the reservoir on
the river?s natural thermal gradient in two different periods of the year. The high spatial resolution images of the Ribarroja
reservoir, acquired by the airborne hyperspectral TASI sensor,
Pillco Zolá Ramiro, Bengtsson Lars, Berndtsson Ronny, Marti-Cardona Belen, Satgé Frederic, Timouk Franck, Bonnet Marie-Paule, Mollericon Luis, Gamarra Cesar, Pasapera José (2018) Modeling Lake Titicaca Daily and Monthly Evaporation, HYDROLOGY AND EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCES COPERNICUS GESELLSCHAFT MBH
Lake Titicaca is an important water ecosystem of South America. Due to uncertainties in estimating the evaporation losses from the lake, surface water storage calculations are uncertain. In this paper, we try to improve evaporation loss estimations by comparing different methods to calculate daily and monthly evaporation from Lake Titicaca. These were: water balance, heat balance, mass transfer method, and the Penman equation. The evaporation was computed at daily time step and compared with estimated evaporation using mean monthly meteorological observations. We found that the most reliable method of determining the annual lake evaporation is using the heat balance approach. To estimate the monthly lake evaporation using heat balance, the heat storage changes must be known in advance. Since convection from the surface layer is intense during nights resulting in a well-mixed top layer every morning, it is possible to determine the change of heat storage from the measured morning surface temperature. The mean annual lake evaporation was found to be 1700mm. Monthly evaporation computed using daily data and monthly means resulted in minor differences.
Marti-Cardona Belen, Prats Jord, Niclòs Raquel (2019) Enhancing the retrieval of stream surface temperature from Landsat data, Remote Sensing of Environment 224 pp. 182-191 Elsevier
Thermal images of water bodies often show a radiance gradient perpendicular to the banks. This effect is frequently
due to mixed land and water thermal pixels. In the case of the Landsat images, radiance mixing can also
affect pure water pixels due the cubic convolution resampling of the native thermal measurements. Some authors
recommended a general-purpose margin of two thermal pixels to the banks or a minimum river width of three
pixels, to avoid near bank effects in water temperature retrievals. Given the relatively course spatial resolution of
satellite thermal sensors, the three pixel margin severely restricts their application to temperature mapping in
many rivers. This study proposes a new algorithm to enhance the retrieval of stream surface temperature using
Landsat 8 thermal data, although it is also applicable to Landsat 7 and Landsat 5. The aim is not to perform a
subpixel radiance unmixing but to refine the selection of unmixed, reliable pixels for temperature mapping. For
this purpose, the spatial arrangement of native Landsat thermal pixels is approximated, and pure water pixels in
the downscaled thermal band are selected accordingly. The least-favourable cubic convolution near-bank radiance
mixing is simulated on image basis. Only pure thermal water pixels unaffected by the simulated worstcase
resampling are selected. The algorithm allowed retrieving water surface temperature in reaches down to
120m wide, clearly improving the existing three pixel, i.e. 300m for Landsat 8, recommendation. The enhancing
algorithm was applied to a reach in the Ebro River reach, Spain. It provided spatially distributed temperatures in
narrow parts, upstream and downstream of a wide reservoir, offering new insight of the overall impact of the
reservoir over the river thermal regime.
Pillco Zolá Ramiro, Bengtsson Lars, Berndtsson Ronny, Marti-Cardona Belen, Satgé Frederic, Timouk Franck, Bonnet Marie-Paule, Mollericon Luis, Gamarra Cesar, Pasapera José (2019) Modelling Lake Titicaca's daily and monthly evaporation, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 23 (2) pp. 657-668 Copernicus Publications
Lake Titicaca is a crucial water resource in the
central part of the Andean mountain range, and it is one
of the lakes most affected by climate warming. Since surface
evaporation explains most of the lake?s water losses,
reliable estimates are paramount to the prediction of global
warming impacts on Lake Titicaca and to the region?s water
resource planning and adaptation to climate change. Evaporation
estimates were done in the past at monthly time
steps and using the four methods as follows: water balance,
heat balance, and the mass transfer and Penman?s equations.
The obtained annual evaporation values showed significant
dispersion. This study used new, daily frequency hydrometeorological
measurements. Evaporation losses were calculated
following the mentioned methods using both daily
records and their monthly averages to assess the impact of
higher temporal resolution data in the evaporation estimates.
Changes in the lake heat storage needed for the heat balance
method were estimated based on the morning water surface
temperature, because convection during nights results in a
well-mixed top layer every morning over a constant temperature
depth. We found that the most reliable method for determining
the annual lake evaporation was the heat balance
approach, although the Penman equation allows for an easier
implementation based on generally available meteorological
parameters. The mean annual lake evaporation was found
to be 1700mmyearɹ. This value is considered an upper
limit of the annual evaporation, since the main study period
was abnormally warm. The obtained upper limit lowers by
200mmyearɹ, the highest evaporation estimation obtained
previously, thus reducing the uncertainty in the actual value.
Regarding the evaporation estimates using daily and monthly
averages, these resulted in minor differences for all methodologies.
Debele Sisay E., Kumar Prashant, Sahani Jeetendra, Marti-Cardona Belen, Mickovski Slobodan B., Leo Laura S., Porcù Federico, Bertini Flavio, Montesi Danilo, Vojinovic Zoran, Di Sabatino Silvana (2019) Nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological hazards: Revised concepts, classification schemes and databases, Environmental Research 108799 Elsevier
Hydro-meteorological hazards (HMHs) have had a strong impact on human societies and ecosystems. Their impact is projected to be exacerbated by future climate scenarios. HMHs cataloguing is an effective tool to evaluate their associated risks and plan appropriate remediation strategies. However, factors linked to HMHs origin and triggers remain uncertain, which poses a challenge for their cataloguing. Focusing on key HMHs (floods, storm surge, landslides, droughts, and heatwaves), the goal of this review paper is to analyse and present a classification scheme, key features, and elements for designing nature-based solutions (NBS) and mitigating the adverse impacts of HMHs in Europe. For this purpose, we systematically examined the literature on NBS classification and assessed the gaps that hinder the widespread uptake of NBS. Furthermore, we critically evaluated the existing literature to give a better understanding of the HMHs drivers and their interrelationship (causing multi-hazards). Further conceptualisation of classification scheme and categories of NBS shows that relatively few studies have been carried out on utilising the broader concepts of NBS in tackling HMHs and that the classification and effectiveness of each NBS are dependent on the location, architecture, typology, green species, environmental conditions as well as interrelated non-linear systems. NBS are often more cost-effective than hard engineering approaches used within the existing systems, especially when taking into consideration their potential co-benefits. We also evaluated the sources of available data for HMHs and NBS, highlighted gaps in data, and presented strategies to overcome the current shortcomings for the development of the NBS for HMHs. We highlighted specific gaps and barriers that need to be filled since the uptake and upscaling studies of NBS in HMHs reduction is rare. The fundamental concepts and the key technical features of past studies reviewed here could help practitioners to design and implement NBS in a real-world situation.
Torres Batlló Juan, Marti-Cardona Belén, Pillco-Zolá Ramiro (2019) Mapping evapotranspiration, vegetation and precipitation trends in the catchment of the shrinking Lake Poopó., Remote Sensing 12(1) (73) MDPI
Lake Poopó is located in the Andean Mountain Range Plateau or Altiplano. A general decline in the lake water level has been observed in the last two decades, coinciding roughly with an intensification of agriculture exploitation, such as quinoa crops. Several factors have been linked with the shrinkage of the lake, including climate change, increased irrigation, mining extraction and population growth. Being an endorheic catchment, evapotranspiration (ET) losses are expected to be the main water output mechanism and previous studies demonstrated ET increases using Earth observation (EO) data. In this study, we seek to build upon these earlier findings by analyzing an ET time series dataset of higher spatial and temporal resolution, in conjunction with land cover and precipitation data. More specifically, we performed a spatio-temporal analysis, focusing on wet and dry periods, that showed that ET changes occur primarily in the wet period, while the dry period is approximately stationary. An analysis of vegetation trends performed using 500 MODIS vegetation index products (NDVI) also showed an overall increasing trend during the wet period. Analysis of NDVI and ET across land cover types showed that only croplands had experienced an increase in NDVI and ET losses, while natural covers showed either constant or decreasing NDVI trends together with increases in ET. The larger increase in vegetation and ET losses over agricultural regions, strongly suggests that cropping practices exacerbated water losses in these areas. This quantification provides essential information for the sustainable planning of water resources and land uses in the catchment. Finally, we examined the spatio-temporal trends of the precipitation using the newly available Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS-v2) product, which we validated with onsite rainfall measurements. When integrated over the entire catchment, precipitation and ET showed an average increasing trend of 5.2 mm yr?1 and 4.3 mm yr?1, respectively. This result suggests that, despite the increased ET losses, the catchment-wide water storage should have been offset by the higher precipitation. However, this result is only applicable to the catchment-wide water balance, and the location of water may have been altered (e.g., by river abstractions or by the creation of impoundments) to the detriment of the Lake Poopó downstream.
Sanz-Ramos Marcos, Marti-Cardona Belen, Blade Ernest, Seco Irene, Amengual Arnau, Roux Helene, Romero Romu (2020) NRCS-CN Estimation from Onsite and Remote Sensing Data for Management of a Reservoir in the Eastern Pyrenees, Journal of Hydrologic Engineering 25 (9) American Society of Civil Engineers
Onsite and Earth observation (EO) data are used for the calibration of the Natural Resources Conservation Service curve number (NRCS-CN) value in a hydrological simulation model. The model was developed for La Muga catchment (eastern Pyrenees) highly vulnerable to flood and drought episodes. It is an integral part of a regional reservoir management tool, which aims at minimizing the flood risk while maximizing the preservation of water storage. The CN values were optimized for five recorded events for the model to match the observed hydrographs at the reservoir when supported with the measured rainfall intensities. This study also investigates the possibilities of using antecedent moisture conditions (AMC) retrieved from satellite data to inform the selection of the NRCS-CN losses parameter. A good correlation was found between the calibrated CN values and the AMC obtained from satellite data. This correlation highlights the interest in using EO data to update NRCS-CN estimates. This advances in hydrologic-hydraulic coupled modeling combined with new remote sensing datasets present valuable opportunities and potential benefits for flood risk management and water resources preservation.