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Hydrological modeling enhancement using GIS: An improved topographic wetness index for wetland detection
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Hydrological modeling, like runoff modelling for flood prevention, is based on digital elevation models (DEMs). The fact that the DEMs do not represent existing road culverts can lead to considerable hydrological misinterpretations. In order to overcome this limitation, a GIS method was developed to automatically adjust the elevation model, hydrologically enforcing the DEM, so that the results of hydrological modeling accounts for flow through culverts. The hydro-enforced DEM showed to better represent the drainage network than the former DEM when compared with the river map.

The topographic wetness index is the most commonly applied topographic index and a good indicator of soil moisture distribution. It has been integrated into many hydrological models and pollution risk indices as well as into the prediction of wetland distribution. Using the hydro-DEM from the previous step and the soil map in conjunction with the TWI, an improved TWI was achieved, namely a soil-topographic wetness index (STI). The linkages between specific soil types and TWI or STI values were analyzed. They revealed a clear linkage between STI values and soil type based on the soil transmissivity (R2=0.77). However, the TWI values showed low correlations to the soil types (R2=0.02).

As a specific application, both TWI and STI were tested for the detection of wetlands. Wetlands are important ecosystems which act as buffer zones by filtering pollutants and slowing floodwater. Being able to identify their distribution is important in landscape planning and ecology. A wetland threshold value was determined for each index and their results where compared with the wetland map from the property map (assumed as ground truth) and with the potential wetland area. Finally, a visual validation was performed with the use of an aerial photography. The results showed that the STI performed slightly better than the TWI for the detection of wetlands, detecting 3% more wetlands. The impact of the soil map on the topographic wetness index was therefore determined as positive.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 49 p.
Keyword [en]
Blue spots, digital dams, culverts, hydrologically enforced DEM, topographic wetness index, TWI, soil-topographic wetness index, STI, wetland detection
National Category
Physical Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-126004OAI: diva2:896505
External cooperation
Metria AB
2016-01-14, 14:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-01-21 Created: 2016-01-21 Last updated: 2016-01-21Bibliographically approved

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