Spatio-temporal variability monitoring of the floods in the center-west of the Buenos Aires Province (Argentina) using remote sensing techniques

F.I. Contreras, G.M. Mavo Mastretta, M.C. Piccolo, G.M.E. Perillo


Floods are recurring events in Buenos Aires Province, mainly caused by high-intensity precipitation, and in some cases, they persist for long periods. The objective of this study is to analyze how the topography of the central-western portion of Buenos Aires Province determines the occurrence and the extent of floods. The presence of shallow lakes characterizes the area which is controlled by the topography. LANDSAT 5 and 8 images corresponding to periods of drought and flooding in the area were compared with topographic profiles and digital elevation models generated from SRTM 3 arc/sec data. The results showed that in those areas where there are aligned dunes, and after significant storm drain engineering works, during the wet periods, the lakes, their overflows, and the subsequent runoff to the east of Buenos Aires Province flow freely, limiting the flood areas. Due to this topography, the lakes became a more permanent feature of the landscape, even during extreme drought events. In contrast, in those areas where parabolic dunes predominate, the landscape is more affected by droughts and floods. During drought events, we observed a small number of shallow lakes, and during strong storms with high-intensity rainfall, the number of lakes increases and large flooded areas generate damage to agricultural fields and neighboring cities, either due to natural causes or improvised and illegal storm drains. Early warning of flood risks and a systematic territorial ordaining would be the key to the management of the area.


Dunes; topography; floods; shallow lakes; runoff

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