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GIS Applications to Investigate the Linkage between Geomorphological Catchment Characteristics and Response Time: A Case Study in Four Climatological Regions, South Africa

Unit for Sustainable Water and Environment, Department of Civil Engineering, Central University of Technology, Free State, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa
Water 2019, 11(5), 1072; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11051072
Received: 12 April 2019 / Revised: 29 April 2019 / Accepted: 30 April 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flood Modelling: Regional Flood Estimation and GIS Based Techniques)
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Abstract

In flood hydrology, geomorphological catchment characteristics serve as fundamental input to inform decisions related to design flood estimation and regionalization. Typically, site-specific geomorphological catchment characteristics are used for regionalization, while flood statistics are used to test the homogeneity of the identified regions. This paper presents the application and comparison of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) modelling tools for the estimation of catchment characteristics to provide an enhanced understanding of the linkage between geomorphological catchment characteristics and response time. It was evident that catchment response variability is not exclusively related to catchment area, but rather associated with the increasing spatial–temporal heterogeneity of other catchment characteristics as the catchment scale increases. In general, catchment and channel geomorphology overruled the impact that catchment variables might have on the response time and resulting runoff. Shorter response times and higher peak flows were evident in similar-sized catchments characterized by lower shape factors, circularity ratios, and shorter centroid distances and associated higher elongation ratios, drainage densities and steeper slopes. The GIS applications not only enabled the inclusion of a more diverse selection of catchment characteristics as opposed to when manual methods are used, but the high degree of association between the different GIS-based methods also confirmed their preferential use. View Full-Text
Keywords: catchment geomorphology; catchment response time; flood hydrology; geographical information systems; ungauged catchments catchment geomorphology; catchment response time; flood hydrology; geographical information systems; ungauged catchments
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Gericke, O.J. GIS Applications to Investigate the Linkage between Geomorphological Catchment Characteristics and Response Time: A Case Study in Four Climatological Regions, South Africa. Water 2019, 11, 1072.

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