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The GHYRAF (Gravity and Hydrology in Africa) experiment: Description and first results

Abstract : This paper is the first presentation of a project called GHYRAF (Gravity and Hydrology in Africa) devoted to the detailed comparison between models and multidisciplinary observations (ground and satellite gravity, geodesy, hydrology, meteorology) of the variations of water storage in Africa from the Sahara arid part to the monsoon equatorial part. We describe the various actions planned in this project. We first detail the actions planned in gravimetry which consist in two main surface gravity experiments: on the one hand the periodic repetition of absolute gravity measurements along a north-south monsoonal gradient of rainfall in West Africa, going from Tamanrasset (20 mm/year) in southern Algeria to Djougou (1200 mm/year) in central Benin; on the other hand the continuous measurements at Djougou (Benin) with a superconducting gravimeter to monitor with a higher sampling rate the gravity changes related to an extreme hydrological cycle. Another section describes the actions planned in GPS which will maintain and develop the present-day existing network in West Africa. The third type of actions deals with hydrol-ogy and we review the three sites that will be investigated in this joint hydrogeophysics project namely Wankama (near Niamey) and Bagara (near Diffa) in the Niger Sahelian zone and Nalohou (near Djougou) in the Benin monsoon zone. We also address the question of the ground truth of satellite-derived missions ; in this context the GHYRAF project will lead to test the hydrology models by comparison both with in situ and satellite data such as GRACE, as well as to an important increase of our knowledge of the seasonal water cycle in Africa. We finally present preliminary results in GPS based on the analysis of the vertical motion of the Djougou site. The resulting absolute gravity changes related to the 2008 monsoon are finally given.
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J. Hinderer, C. de Linage, J.-P. Boy, P. Gegout, F. Masson, et al.. The GHYRAF (Gravity and Hydrology in Africa) experiment: Description and first results. Journal of Geodynamics, Elsevier, 2009, 48 (3-5), pp.172-181. ⟨10.1016/j.jog.2009.09.014⟩. ⟨hal-02884064⟩

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