Investigating impacts of natural and human-induced environmental changes on hydrological processes and flood hazards using a GIS-based hydrological/hydraulic model and remote sensing data
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Natural and human-induced environmental changes have been altering the earth's surface and hydrological processes, and thus directly contribute to the severity of flood hazards. To understand these changes and their impacts, this research developed a GISbased hydrological and hydraulic modeling system, which incorporates state-of-the-art remote sensing data to simulate flood under various scenarios. The conceptual framework and technical issues of incorporating multi-scale remote sensing data have been addressed. This research develops an object-oriented hydrological modeling framework. Compared with traditional lumped or cell-based distributed hydrological modeling frameworks, the object-oriented framework allows basic spatial hydrologic units to have various size and irregular shape. This framework is capable of assimilating various GIS and remotely-sensed data with different spatial resolutions. It ensures the computational efficiency, while preserving sufficient spatial details of input data and model outputs. Sensitivity analysis and comparison of high resolution LIDAR DEM with traditional USGS 30m resolution DEM suggests that the use of LIDAR DEMs can greatly reduce uncertainty in calibration of flow parameters in the hydrologic model and hence increase the reliability of modeling results. In addition, subtle topographic features and hydrologic objects like surface depressions and detention basins can be extracted from the high resolution LiDAR DEMs. An innovative algorithm has been developed to efficiently delineate surface depressions and detention basins from LiDAR DEMs. Using a time series of Landsat images, a retrospective analysis of surface imperviousness has been conducted to assess the hydrologic impact of urbanization. The analysis reveals that with rapid urbanization the impervious surface has been increased from 10.1% to 38.4% for the case study area during 1974 - 2002. As a result, the peak flow for a 100-year flood event has increased by 20% and the floodplain extent has expanded by about 21.6%. The quantitative analysis suggests that the large regional detentions basins have effectively offset the adverse effect of increased impervious surface during the urbanization process. Based on the simulation and scenario analyses of land subsidence and potential climate changes, some planning measures and policy implications have been derived for guiding smart urban growth and sustainable resource development and management to minimize flood hazards.
Wang, Lei (2006). Investigating impacts of natural and human-induced environmental changes on hydrological processes and flood hazards using a GIS-based hydrological/hydraulic model and remote sensing data. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from