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Open AccessArticle

Impact of DEM Resolution on Puddle Characterization: Comparison of Different Surfaces and Methods

by Jianli Zhang 1,2,† and Xuefeng Chu 2,*,†
1
State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100048, China
2
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (Dept 2470), North Dakota State University, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Miklas Scholz
Water 2015, 7(5), 2293-2313; https://doi.org/10.3390/w7052293
Received: 24 March 2015 / Accepted: 11 May 2015 / Published: 18 May 2015
DEM-based topographic characterization and quantification of surface depression storage are critical to hydrologic and environmental modeling. Mixed conclusions have been obtained from previous studies on the relationship between maximum depression storage (MDS) and DEM grid spacing, which is affected by different factors, such as topographic characteristics, surface delineation methods and DEM interpolation/aggregation methods. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of DEM resolution on topographic characterization with the consideration of these three factors. Twenty-three topographic surfaces (including ideal surfaces, laboratory-scale soil surfaces and watershed-scale land surfaces) were selected, and five software packages, ArcHydro, PCRaster, HEC-GeoHMS, TauDEM and PD (puddle delineation), were used for surface delineation. Our results indicated that MDS, maximum ponding area (MPA) and the number of puddles (NP) decreased with increasing grid spacing for most smoother surfaces due to the loss of topographic detail. For most rough surfaces (e.g., mountain-type surfaces with significant variations in surface elevations), however, the changing patterns of MDS and MPA varied with an increase in grid spacing mainly due to the unreal “artificial depressions/puddles” generated during the interpolation/aggregation process. This study emphasizes the importance of topographic characteristics, DEM resolution and surface delineation methods. View Full-Text
Keywords: digital elevation model (DEM); watershed delineation; grid spacing; depression storage; interpolation method digital elevation model (DEM); watershed delineation; grid spacing; depression storage; interpolation method
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Zhang, J.; Chu, X. Impact of DEM Resolution on Puddle Characterization: Comparison of Different Surfaces and Methods. Water 2015, 7, 2293-2313.

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