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Research Project: Ecohydrological Processes, Scale, Climate Variability, and Watershed Management

Location: Southwest Watershed Research Center

Title: Implication of remotely sensed data to incorporate land cover effect into a linear reservoir-based rainfall-runoff model

Author
item NOURANI, V. - University Of Tabriz
item FARD, A.F. - University Of Tabriz
item NAIZI, F. - University Of Tabriz
item GUPTA, H.V. - University Of Arizona
item Goodrich, David - Dave
item VALIZADEH, K. - University Of Tabriz

Submitted to: Journal of Hydrology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/16/2015
Publication Date: 9/1/2015
Citation: Nourani, V., Fard, A., Naizi, F., Gupta, H., Goodrich, D.C., Valizadeh, K. 2015. Implication of remotely sensed data to incorporate land cover effect into a linear reservoir-based rainfall-runoff model. Journal of Hydrology. 529:94-105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.07.020.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.07.020

Interpretive Summary: This study investigates the effect of land use on a simple rainfall-runoff watershed model. We use a measure of the amount of vegetation derived from remotely sensed data as a measure of land use in contrasting watersheds. One is natural with desert grasses and mesquite vegetation cover and the other consists of a residential development with xeric landscaping typical of many sub-divisions in the city of Sierra Vista in Southeastern Arizona. The outlet of the natural watershed drains into the upper portion of the developed watershed. Instrumentation to record the rainfall and runoff in each of the watersheds was installed. Our approach has two important aspects: (i) it considers the effects of both the watershed channel network and land use/cover, and (ii) it requires only one modeling parameter to be estimated through the use of observed rainfall–runoff data. Geographic Information System (GIS) tools were used to determine the parameters associated with watershed geomorphology, and the Vegetation Index parameter is extracted from historical Landsat images. Three different model formulations of our model are applied to the adjacent natural and developed watersheds. Our results indicate that while all of the model formulations generate runoff forecasts with acceptable accuracy for the overall watershed outlet downstream of the developed area, only when the effects of land cover using remotely sensed data are incorporated to more accurately represent the natural and developed watershed can we get acceptable runoff forecasts at the interior natural watershed outlet.

Technical Abstract: This study investigates the effect of land use on the Geomorphological Cascade of unequal Linear Reservoirs (GCUR) model. We use the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) derived from remotely sensed data as a measure of land use. Our approach has two important aspects: (i) it considers the effects of both watershed geomorphology and land use/cover, and (ii) it requires only one parameter to be estimated through the use of observed rainfall–runoff data. Geographic Information System (GIS) tools are used to determine the parameters associated with watershed geomorphology, and the Vegetation Index parameter is extracted from historical Landsat images. Three different formulations of our model are applied to a watershed in the city of Sierra Vista located in Southeastern Arizona. The study watershed consists of two gaged sub-watersheds with different land use. Our results indicate that while all of the model formulations generate runoff forecasts with acceptable accuracy for the basin outlet, only when the effects of land cover (using NDVI) are incorporated can we get acceptable results at the interior points.