Operational satellite geomonitoring of the consequences of the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam


  • Lyidmila Lischenko Scientific Centre for Aerospace Research of the Earth of the Institute of Geological Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Olesia Honchara Str., 55-b, Kyiv, 01054, Ukraine https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6766-6884
  • Vladimir Filipovich Scientific Centre for Aerospace Research of the Earth of the Institute of Geological Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Olesia Honchara Str., 55-b, Kyiv, 01054, Ukraine https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9404-8122




satellite data, man-made disaster, flooding, underflooding, drainage, operational satellite monitoring, military operations


As a result of military operations and the explosion of the Kakhovka Reservoir dam, the Lower Prydniprovia area found itself in an environmental emergency, which led to sudden, unexpected, rapid changes in the natural and technical system of the region, primarily related to water supply shortages in one case and flooding in another. The majority of the Left Bank and the reservoir bottom are inaccessible for ground observations, and the use of satellite data for operational monitoring of the environmental situation is relevant. Using Landsat 8,9 satellites, we analyzed the extent of flooding and drainage processes in certain sections of the Dnipro River valley, as well as the development of these events and their consequences over time. The surface condition was analyzed by the water index, vegetation index, surface temperature, and the land cover of the drained reservoir bottom was classified into 5 types of surface. Based on the results of the research, the areas of flooding and submergence of the territory three days after the dam was blown up were determined, which amounted to 620.3 km2. The dynamics of drainage of the reservoir bottom for 4 months after the water release was analyzed. The area of drainage in the study area, which was once occupied by the famous Velykyi Luh, amounted to approximately 85%. According to satellite monitoring in the reservoir drainage area, the accumulated bottom sediments, despite the 65-year period of the reservoir's operation, failed to completely silt up either the Dnipro riverbed or its individual channels and oxbows. They are being restored to the same extent and shape. A part of the former high floodplain and the first floodplain terrace was the first to come out of the water and is already overgrown with vegetation. This also applies to the flooded mouths of the beams. The weat lowland areas of the floodplain remain swampy, with significant bottom sediment in the form of silt and sapropel accumulated in them, the thickness and chemical composition of which needs to be investigated. The coastal (slope) parts enriched with deluvial-illuvial sediments are more fertile, they were the first to be covered with sprouts of woody and herbal vegetation, the density of which is very high according to NDVI. New riparian berms, spits, banks of river driftwood (shells) and alluvial sand have formed, which can obviously be redeposited and change their shape during floods and intensive water releases from upper reservoirs. Silty soils that dry out and crack need to be covered with vegetation as soon as possible, and this process is underway. Wetlands of low-lying floodplains are also overgrown with vegetation, but due to eutrophication of non-flowing lakes and ponds, and after 3 months they are fully classified as wetlands. The proposed methodology of operational remote analysis of the geo-ecological state of the territories disturbed as a result of the destruction of large hydraulic structures has been successfully adapted and can be used as a basic one in similar situations.


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