Meandering and Land Use /Cover Change Detection in the Lower Jordan River (LJR), 1984-2016, Using GIS and RS
The objective of this study is to monitor and analyze the meandering, and changes in land use / land cover (LULC) caused by the large reduction of water flow of the lower Jordan River (LJR), resulting from climatic conditions, and conflict over water resources between Syria, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the upper part of the Jordan River Basin (JRB). These circumstances have led to dramatic decline in the Dead Sea level by a vertical distance of -39 m during the monitoring period. This has resulted in the scarcity of water resources, changes affecting the geomorphology of the river as well as the vegetated area and the spatial distribution of riparian vegetation in the (LJR). These changes were examined using Landsat TM, ETM, all images acquired in August 1984, 2000, and 2016, and a topographic map (TM) was used as a base map. The multi-temporal images were geometrically and radio metrically calibrated to each other and used as input for an automatic change detection procedure. The results of the interpretation showed that there was an elongation in the active channel length of about 741.8 m within the monitoring period as a result of the Dead Sea retreat, and about 2.65 km caused by meandering. The direction of the migration rates varied towards west and east, with the dominant direction towards the west and the annual average migration rate for west and east was 0.325 m, with a total lateral migration during the study period about only 17.875m in both directions west and east. River meandering has increased from 1.8 m to 2.1 m in the time period. With respect to (LULC), the difference image indicated that significant positive changes in green vegetation have occurred between 1984 and 2016; this is due to the expansion of water storage by canals, and dams in all riparian counters, with an increase in water ponds. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) showed that the riparian vegetation area increased by 36.9% during the monitoring period, indicating the stability of the valley floor.