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The effect of DEM and land use spatial resolution on simulated streamflow and sediment

  • Authors
    Xinjian G.
    Huiliang W.
    Xuyong L.Corresponding
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  • gnest_01250_published.pdf
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The Hydrologic Simulation Program-FORTRAN (HSPF) model is widely used to develop management strategies for water resources and to evaluate the hydrologic effect of various management scenarios. The spatial resolution of the input data used to parameterize HSPF model may induce uncertainty in model outputs. In this study, the impact of spatial resolutions of Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and land use map on the uncertainty of HSPF predicted flow and sediment were evaluated. DEM resolution can affect stream length, watershed area and average slope, whereas land use data resolution can lead to redistribution of land use information. Results showed that finer resolution DEM and land use maps can generate higher flow volumes and sediment loads compared to modelling scenarios using inputs of coarse resolution. The relative change in model performance between the baseline scenario (high-resolution) and scenarios of coarser resolution described uncertainties due to DEM and land use spatial information, and the probability density function of these uncertainties was used to estimate these uncertainties. Modelled flow and sediment uncertainty due to DEM resolution seems to follow a log-normal and a general extreme value distribution respectively, whereas modelled flow and sediment uncertainty due to land use resolution seems to both follow a general extreme value distribution. Overall, results highlight the need for a high-resolution DEM and land use maps in the application of the HSPF model while they provide useful information for reducing the model uncertainties.