Constructing Reservoir Area-Volume-Elevation Curve from TanDEM-X DEM Data. Academic Article uri icon


  • Area-volume-elevation (AVE) curves are critical for reservoir operation rules. However, such curves are not publicly available for most global reservoirs. Here, we present a framework to derive reservoir AVE curves from TanDEM-X data, using Lake Mead (~600 km2) as an example. First, the maximum water extent from 1984 to 2018-provided by the global surface water (GSW) dataset-was used as a mask to obtain the TanDEM-X data. Then, the TanDEM-X water indication mask (WAM) was applied to the extracted TanDEM-X data to obtain the visible bathymetry, which represents the topography between the maximum extent (according to GSW) and the water extent from WAM. Last, the AVE curve was generated by integrating the volume values from the top to bottom layers. TanDEM-X also captures the elevation values of the transitional waters, which are defined as the difference between the highest and lowest water levels. The transitional waters were obtained by thresholding amplitude and coherence images, and their elevations were then added to the visible bathymetry to extend the AVE curves with an elevation range extending from 344-369 m to 341-369 m. Validation results against in situ lidar survey values suggest a high-accuracy of elevation-area (E-A) relationships with R 2 values of >0.99 and NRMSE values from 2.11% to 2.45%, and elevation-volume (E-V) relationships with R 2 values of 1 and NRMSE values from 1.11% to 1.29%. Results also show that TanDEM-X data can capture the interannual variations due to multiple acquisitions, and that the elevation measurements for the lake shore areas are reliable.

published proceedings

  • IEEE J Sel Top Appl Earth Obs Remote Sens

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, Y., Gao, H., Allen, G. H., & Zhang, Z.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Li, Yao||Gao, Huilin||Allen, George H||Zhang, Zhe

publication date

  • January 2021