Remote sensing and GIS application for river runoff and water quality modeling in a hilly forested watershed of Japan

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The main objective of this study is to present a simplified distributed modeling framework based on the storage balance concept of a Tank Model and by utilizing inputs from remote sensing data and GIS analysis. The modeling process is simplified by (1) minimizing the number of parameters with unknown values and 2) retaining important characteristics (such as land cover, topography, geology) of the study area in order to account for spatial variability. Remote sensing is used as a main source of distributed data and the GIS environment is used to integrate spatial information into the model. Remote sensing is utilized mainly to derive land cover, leaf area index (Lai) and transpiration coefficient (Tc). Topographic variables such as slope, drainage direction and soil topographic index (Tindex) are derived from a digital elevation model (DEM) using GIS. The model is used to estimate evapotranspiration (Et) loss, river flow rate and selected water quality parameters (CODMn and TP). Model verification adopted a comparison of estimated results with observed data collected at different temporal scales (storm events, daily, alternate days and every 10 days). A simplified distributed modeling framework coupled with remote sensing and GIS is expected to be an alternative to complex distributed modeling processes, which required values of parameters usually unavailable at a grid scale.

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