TerraSAR-X high-resolution radar remote sensing: an operational warning system for Rift Valley fever risk

  • Cécile Vignolles Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Toulouse Cedex, France.
  • Yves M. Tourre | yves.tourre@meteo.fr Météo-France, Toulouse Cedex , France; Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), Columbia University, Palisades, NY, United States.
  • Oscar Mora ALTAMIRA Information, Parc Technologique du Canal, Ramonville Saint Agne, France.
  • Laurent Imanache Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Toulouse Cedex, France.
  • Murielle Lafaye Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Toulouse Cedex, France.


In the vicinity of the Barkedji village (in the Ferlo region of Senegal), the abundance and aggressiveness of the vector mosquitoes for Rift Valley fever (RVF) are strongly linked to rainfall events and associated ponds dynamics. Initially, these results were obtained from spectral analysis of high-resolution (~10 m) Spot-5 images, but, as a part of the French AdaptFVR project, identification of the free water dynamics within ponds was made with the new high-resolution (down to 3-meter pixels), Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite (TerraSAR-X) produced by Infoterra GmbH, Friedrichshafen/Potsdam, Germany. During summer 2008, within a 30 x 50 km radar image, it was found that identified free water fell well within the footprints of ponds localized by optical data (i.e. Spot-5 images), which increased the confidence in this new and complementary remote sensing technique. Moreover, by using near real-time rainfall data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), NASA/JAXA joint mission, the filling-up and flushingout rates of the ponds can be accurately determined. The latter allows for a precise, spatio-temporal mapping of the zones potentially occupied by mosquitoes capable of revealing the variability of pond surfaces. The risk for RVF infection of gathered bovines and small ruminants (~1 park/km2) can thus be assessed. This new operational approach (which is independent of weather conditions) is an important development in the mapping of risk components (i.e. hazards plus vulnerability) related to RVF transmission during the summer monsoon, thus contributing to a RVF early warning system.


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Original Articles
Rift Valley fever, mosquitoes, TerraSAR-X, high-resolution remote sensing, early warning systems, Senegal.
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How to Cite
Vignolles, C., Tourre, Y. M., Mora, O., Imanache, L., & Lafaye, M. (2010). TerraSAR-X high-resolution radar remote sensing: an operational warning system for Rift Valley fever risk. Geospatial Health, 5(1), 23-31. https://doi.org/10.4081/gh.2010.184