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Remote Sens. 2010, 2(11), 2607-2628; doi:10.3390/rs2112607

Hydraulic Geometry, GIS and Remote Sensing, Techniques against Rainfall-Runoff Models for Estimating Flood Magnitude in Ephemeral Fluvial Systems

1
Department of Physical Geography, University of Murcia, Campus la Merced, s/n, 30001 Murcia, Spain
2
Department of Physics of the Earth and Thermodynamics, University of Valencia, 46100 Burjassot, Spain
3
Autonomous Community of Murcia Region, Environmental Integration and Information Service, C/Catedático Eugenio Ubeda, s/n, Murcia, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 September 2010 / Revised: 3 November 2010 / Accepted: 10 November 2010 / Published: 23 November 2010
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Abstract

This paper shows the combined use of remotely sensed data and hydraulic geometry methods as an alternative to rainfall-runoff models. Hydraulic geometric data and boolean images of water sheets obtained from satellite images after storm events were integrated in a Geographical Information System. Channel cross-sections were extracted from a high resolution Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and superimposed on the image cover to estimate the peak flow using HEC-RAS. The proposed methodology has been tested in ephemeral channels (ramblas) on the coastal zone in south-eastern Spain. These fluvial systems constitute an important natural hazard due to their high discharges and sediment loads. In particular, different areas affected by floods during the period 1997 to 2009 were delimited through HEC-GeoRAs from hydraulic geometry data and Landsat images of these floods (Landsat‑TM5 and Landsat-ETM+7). Such an approach has been validated against rainfall-surface runoff models (SCS Dimensionless Unit Hydrograph, SCSD, Témez gamma HU Tγ and the Modified Rational method, MRM) comparing their results with flood hydrographs of the Automatic Hydrologic Information System (AHIS) in several ephemeral channels in the Murcia Region. The results obtained from the method providing a better fit were used to calculate different hydraulic geometry parameters, especially in residual flood areas.
Keywords: rainfall-runoff modeling; Geographic Information System (GIS); hydraulic geometry; remote sensing; flood hazard; ephemeral channels; Southeast Spain rainfall-runoff modeling; Geographic Information System (GIS); hydraulic geometry; remote sensing; flood hazard; ephemeral channels; Southeast Spain
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Conesa-Garcia, C.; Caselles-Miralles, V.; Sanchez Tomas, J.M.; Garcia-Lorenzo, R. Hydraulic Geometry, GIS and Remote Sensing, Techniques against Rainfall-Runoff Models for Estimating Flood Magnitude in Ephemeral Fluvial Systems. Remote Sens. 2010, 2, 2607-2628.

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