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W. C. Wang, X. X. Yang and T. D. Yao
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Abstract: The resolution and accuracy of digital elevation models (DEMs) can affect the hydraulic simulation results for predicting the effects of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). However, for the Tibetan Plateau, high-quality DEM data are often not available, leaving researchers with near-global, freely available DEMs, such as the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer Global Digital Elevation Model (ASTER GDEM) and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data (SRTM) for hydraulic modelling. This study explores the suitability of these two freely available DEMs for hydraulic modelling of GLOFs. Our study focused on the flood plain of a potentially dangerous glacial lake in southeastern Tibet, to evaluate the elevation accuracy of ASTER GDEM and SRTM, and their suitability for hydraulic modelling of GLOFs. The elevation accuracies of ASTER GDEM and SRTM were first validated against field global position system (GPS) survey points, and then evaluated with reference to the relatively high precision of 1:50 000 scale DEM (DEM5) constructed from aerial photography. Moreover, the DEM5, ASTER GDEM and SRTM were used as basic topographic data to simulate peak discharge propagation, as well as flood inundation extent and depth in the Hydrologic Engineering Center's River Analysis System one-dimensional hydraulic model. Results of the three DEM predictions were compared to evaluate the suitability of ASTER GDEM and SRTM for GLOF hydraulic modelling. Comparisons of ASTER GDEM and SRTM each with DEM5 in the flood plain area show root-mean-square errors between the former two as +/- 15.4 m and between the latter two as +/- 13.5 m. Although SRTM overestimates and ASTER GDEM underestimates valley floor elevations, both DEMs can be used to extract the elevations of required geometric data, i.e. stream centre lines, bank lines and cross sections, for flood modelling. However, small errors still exist in the cross sections that may influence the propagation of peak discharge. The flood inundation extent and mean water depths derived from ASTER GDEM predictions are only 2.2% larger and 2.3-m deeper than that of the DEM5 predictions, whereas the SRTM yields a flood zone extent 6.8% larger than the DEM5 prediction and a mean water depth 2.4-m shallower than the DEM5 prediction. The modelling shows that, in the absence of high-precision DEM data, ASTER GDEM or SRTM DEM can be relied on for simulating extreme GLOFs in southeast Tibet. Copyright (c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Page number: 213-225
Issue: 2
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PubYear: 2012
Volume: 26
Publication name: Hydrological Processes
Abstract: The resolution and accuracy of digital elevation models (DEMs) can affect the hydraulic simulation results for predicting the effects of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). However, for the Tibetan Plateau, high-quality DEM data are often not available, leaving researchers with near-global, freely available DEMs, such as the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer Global Digital Elevation Model (ASTER GDEM) and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data (SRTM) for hydraulic modelling. This study explores the suitability of these two freely available DEMs for hydraulic modelling of GLOFs. Our study focused on the flood plain of a potentially dangerous glacial lake in southeastern Tibet, to evaluate the elevation accuracy of ASTER GDEM and SRTM, and their suitability for hydraulic modelling of GLOFs. The elevation accuracies of ASTER GDEM and SRTM were first validated against field global position system (GPS) survey points, and then evaluated with reference to the relatively high precision of 1:50 000 scale DEM (DEM5) constructed from aerial photography. Moreover, the DEM5, ASTER GDEM and SRTM were used as basic topographic data to simulate peak discharge propagation, as well as flood inundation extent and depth in the Hydrologic Engineering Center's River Analysis System one-dimensional hydraulic model. Results of the three DEM predictions were compared to evaluate the suitability of ASTER GDEM and SRTM for GLOF hydraulic modelling. Comparisons of ASTER GDEM and SRTM each with DEM5 in the flood plain area show root-mean-square errors between the former two as +/- 15.4 m and between the latter two as +/- 13.5 m. Although SRTM overestimates and ASTER GDEM underestimates valley floor elevations, both DEMs can be used to extract the elevations of required geometric data, i.e. stream centre lines, bank lines and cross sections, for flood modelling. However, small errors still exist in the cross sections that may influence the propagation of peak discharge. The flood inundation extent and mean water depths derived from ASTER GDEM predictions are only 2.2% larger and 2.3-m deeper than that of the DEM5 predictions, whereas the SRTM yields a flood zone extent 6.8% larger than the DEM5 prediction and a mean water depth 2.4-m shallower than the DEM5 prediction. The modelling shows that, in the absence of high-precision DEM data, ASTER GDEM or SRTM DEM can be relied on for simulating extreme GLOFs in southeast Tibet. Copyright (c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
The full text link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2010.05.028