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Effects of detailed soil spatial information on watershed modeling across different model scales

Authors
Journal
International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
0303-2434
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
7
Issue
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jag.2005.06.009
Keywords
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Remote Sensing
  • Scale
  • Soils
  • Hydrology
  • Environmental Modeling
  • Model Bias
  • Solim
Disciplines
  • Design
  • Ecology

Abstract

Abstract Hydro-ecological modelers often use spatial variation of soil information derived from conventional soil surveys in simulation of hydro-ecological processes over watersheds at mesoscale (10–100 km 2). Conventional soil surveys are not designed to provide the same level of spatial detail as terrain and vegetation inputs derived from digital terrain analysis and remote sensing techniques. Soil property layers derived from conventional soil surveys are often incompatible with detailed terrain and remotely sensed data due to their difference in scales. The objective of this research is to examine the effect of scale incompatibility between soil information and the detailed digital terrain data and remotely sensed information by comparing simulations of watershed processes based on the conventional soil map and those simulations based on detailed soil information across different simulation scales. The detailed soil spatial information was derived using a GIS (geographical information system), expert knowledge, and fuzzy logic based predictive mapping approach (Soil Land Inference Model, SoLIM). The Regional Hydro-Ecological Simulation System (RHESSys) is used to simulate two watershed processes: net photosynthesis and stream flow. The difference between simulation based on the conventional soil map and that based on the detailed predictive soil map at a given simulation scale is perceived to be the effect of scale incompatibility between conventional soil data and the rest of the (more detailed) data layers at that scale. Two modeling approaches were taken in this study: the lumped parameter approach and the distributed parameter approach. The results over two small watersheds indicate that the effect does not necessarily always increase or decrease as the simulation scale becomes finer or coarser. For a given watershed there seems to be a fixed scale at which the effect is consistently low for the simulated processes with both the lumped parameter approach and the distributed parameter approach.

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