Modeling the Sudd Wetland in South Sudan using Satellite Data
Dr. Di Vittorio’s Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Aris Georgakakos, has developed various decision support tools for the Nile River Basin stakeholders and a key limitation of these tools is the hydrologic representation of the Sudd. The tools simulate the total quantity of water flowing through the Sudd but lack a process-based model that simulates hydrologic variables that are important to local stakeholders, such as the time-variable flood extents. A more comprehensive and process-based wetland model would allow decision-makers to more carefully consider the Sudd response to alternative management and climate scenarios. However, the in-situ hydrologic data needed to develop an improved model is not available due to ongoing political conflict and limited financial resources. The overarching goal of Dr. Di Vittorio’s research was therefore to explore how satellite information could be leveraged to fill data gaps and develop a hydrologic model of the Sudd that could support long-term planning and management.