P L N Raju
Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science
Volume 122 Issue 3 June 2013 pp 869-886
Topographic index is an important attribute of digital elevation model (DEM) which indicates soil saturation. It is used for estimation of run-off, soil moisture, depth of ground water and hydrological simulation. Topographic index is derived from DEMs; hence the accuracy of DEM influences its computation. Commonly the raster based grid DEM is widely used to simulate hydrological model parameter, and accuracy varies with respect to DEM grid size and morphological characteristics of terrain. In this study topographic index is evaluated in terms of DEM grid size and terrain roughness. The study was carried out on four small watersheds, having different roughness characteristics, located over the Himalayan terrain. Topographic index surface is derived for each watershed from different grid spacing DEM (10–150 m), analysed and validated. It is found that DEM grid spacing affects the topographic index. The surface representation is smooth in the coarse grid spacing and the pattern of topographic index changes with grid spacing. The spatial autocorrelation of topographic index surface reduces when calculated from larger spacing DEM. The mean of the topographic index surface increases and standard deviation decreases with the increase of grid spacing and the effect is more pronounced in the rough terrain. Accuracy of the topographic index is also evaluated with respect to grid spacing and terrain roughness by comparing the topographic index surface with respect to reference data (10 m grid spacing topographic index surface). The RMSE and mean error of topographic index surface increases in larger grid spacing and the effect is more in rugged terrain.
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