10 December 2014
New research has improved our understanding of flooding dynamics in one of Australia’s richest biological regions.
Researchers have examined satellite images, taken in different seasons over 26 years in the Alligator Rivers region of Kakadu National Park.
The satellite images helped researchers to determine which floodplain areas were inundated, how often, how much water they were holding and for how long.
The mapping, between 1985 and 2011, showed that on average at the end of the wet season in March/April about 1700km2 of floodplains were underwater. By the late dry season in August/September this reduced to only a quarter of the area.
In the wettest year analysed twice as much land (2300 km2) was flooded than in the driest year (1300km2).
The results will help researchers predict which floodplain areas are ‘hotspots’ for supporting aquatic life. It will also help better prepare park managers for changes to habitat from sea level rise and the spread of weeds.
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