The effects of digital elevation model resolution on the calculation and predictions of topographic wetness indices.
Description: One of the largest exports in the Southeast U.S. is forest products. Interest in biofuels using forest biomass has increased recently, leading to more research into better forest management BMPs. The USDA Forest Service, along with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Georgia and Oregon State University are researching the impacts of intensive forest management for biofuels on water quality and quantity at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Surface runoff of saturated areas, transporting excess nutrients and contaminants, is a potential water quality issue under investigation. Detailed maps of variable source areas and soil characteristics would therefore be helpful prior to treatment. The availability of remotely sensed and computed digital elevation models (DEMs) and spatial analysis tools make it easy to calculate terrain attributes. These terrain attributes can be used in models to predict saturated areas or other attributes in the landscape. With laser altimetry, an area can be flown to produce very high resolution data, and the resulting data can be resampled into any resolution of DEM desired. Additionally, there exist many maps that are in various resolutions of DEM, such as those acquired from the U.S. Geological Survey. Problems arise when using maps derived from different resolution DEMs. For example, saturated areas can be under or overestimated depending on the resolution used. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of DEM resolution on the calculation of topographic wetness indices used to predict variable source areas of saturation, and to find the best resolutions to produce prediction maps of soil attributes like nitrogen, carbon, bulk density and soil texture for low-relief, humid-temperate forested hillslopes. Topographic wetness indices were calculated based on the derived terrain attributes, slope and specific catchment area, from five different DEM resolutions. The DEMs were resampled from LiDAR, which is ...
Date: December 1, 2011
Creator: Drover, Damion, Ryan
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Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department