Impacts of elevation data spatial resolution on two-dimensional dam break flood simulation and consequence assessment

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A grid resolution sensitivity analysis using a two-dimensional flood inundation model has been presented in this paper. Simulations for 6 dam breaches located randomly in the United States were run at 10,30,60,90, and 120 meter resolutions. The dams represent a range of topographic conditions, ranging from 0% slope to 1.5% downstream of the dam. Using 10 meter digital elevation model (DEM) simulation results as the baseline, the coarser simulation results were compared in terms of flood inundation area, peak depths, flood wave travel time, daytime and nighttime population in flooded area, and economic impacts. The results of the study were ... continued below

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Judi, David R; Mcpherson, Timothy N & Burian, Steven J January 1, 2009.

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A grid resolution sensitivity analysis using a two-dimensional flood inundation model has been presented in this paper. Simulations for 6 dam breaches located randomly in the United States were run at 10,30,60,90, and 120 meter resolutions. The dams represent a range of topographic conditions, ranging from 0% slope to 1.5% downstream of the dam. Using 10 meter digital elevation model (DEM) simulation results as the baseline, the coarser simulation results were compared in terms of flood inundation area, peak depths, flood wave travel time, daytime and nighttime population in flooded area, and economic impacts. The results of the study were consistent with previous grid resolution studies in terms of inundated area, depths, and velocity impacts. The results showed that as grid resolution is decreased, the relative fit of inundated area between the baseline and coarser resolution decreased slightly. This is further characterized by increasing over prediction as well as increasing under prediction with decreasing resolution. Comparison of average peak depths showed that depths generally decreased as resolution decreased, as well as the velocity. It is, however, noted that the trends in depth and velocity showed less consistency than the inundation area metrics. This may indicate that for studies in which velocity and depths must be resolved more accurately (urban environments when flow around buildings is important in the calculation of drag effects), higher resolution DEM data should be used. Perhaps the most significant finding from this study is the perceived insensitivity of socio-economic impacts to grid resolution. The difference in population at risk (PAR) and economic cost generally remained within 10% of the estimated impacts using the high resolution DEM. This insensitivity has been attributed to over estimated flood area and associated socio-economic impacts compensating for under estimated flooded area and associated socio-economic impacts. The United States has many dams that are classified as high-hazard potential that need an emergency action plan (EAP). It has been found that the development of EAPs for all high-hazard dams is handicapped due to funding limitations. The majority of the cost associated with developing an EAP is determining the flooded area. The results of this study have shown that coarse resolution dam breach studies can be used to provide an acceptable estimate of the inundated area and economic impacts, with very little computational cost. Therefore, the solution to limited funding may be to perform coarse resolution dam breach studies on high-hazard potential dams and use the results to help prioritize the order in which detailed EAPs should be developed.

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  • Journal Name: Journal of Flood Risk Management

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  • Report No.: LA-UR-09-01173
  • Report No.: LA-UR-09-1173
  • Grant Number: AC52-06NA25396
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 956559
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc935105

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  • January 1, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 11:40 p.m.

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Judi, David R; Mcpherson, Timothy N & Burian, Steven J. Impacts of elevation data spatial resolution on two-dimensional dam break flood simulation and consequence assessment, article, January 1, 2009; [New Mexico]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc935105/: accessed October 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.