Effects of digital elevation model resolution on topography-based runoff simulation under uncertainty

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Topography plays a critical role in controlling water dispersion and soil movement in hydrologic modeling for water resources management with raster-based digital elevation model (DEM). This study aims to model effects of DEM resolution on runoff simulation through coupling fuzzy analysis technique with a topography based rainfall–runoff model (TOPMODEL). Different levels of DEM grid sizes between 30 m and 200 m are examined, and the results indicate that 30 m DEM resolution is the best for all catchments. Results demonstrate that the DEM resolution could have significant influence on the TOPMODEL rainfall–runoff simulation. Fuzzy analysis technique is used to further examine the uncertain DEM resolution based on considering Nash, sum of squared error, and sum of absolute error values of TOPMODEL. The developed model is calibrated and validated against observed flow during the period 2010–2012, and generally performed acceptably for model Nash–Sutcliffe value. The proposed method is useful for studying hydrological processes of watershed associated with topography uncertainty and providing support for identifying proper water resources management strategy.

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