Integration of remote sensing and GIS for modelling flash floods in Wadi Hudain catchment, Egypt
El Bastawesy, M., White, K. and Nasr, A. (2009) Integration of remote sensing and GIS for modelling flash floods in Wadi Hudain catchment, Egypt. Hydrological Processes, 23 (9). pp. 1359-1368. ISSN 0885-6087
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7259
This paper presents a new approach to modelling flash floods in dryland catchments by integrating remote sensing and digital elevation model (DEM) data in a geographical information system (GIS). The spectral reflectance of channels affected by recent flash floods exhibit a marked increase, due to the deposition of fine sediments in these channels as the flood recedes. This allows the parts of a catchment that have been affected by a recent flood event to be discriminated from unaffected parts, using a time series of Landsat images. Using images of the Wadi Hudain catchment in southern Egypt, the hillslope areas contributing flow were inferred for different flood events. The SRTM3 DEM was used to derive flow direction, flow length, active channel cross-sectional areas and slope. The Manning Equation was used to estimate the channel flow velocities, and hence the time-area zones of the catchment. A channel reach that was active during a 1985 runoff event, that does not receive any tributary flow, was used to estimate a transmission loss rate of 7·5 mm h−1, given the maximum peak discharge estimate. Runoff patterns resulting from different flood events are quite variable; however the southern part of the catchment appears to have experienced more floods during the period of study (1984–2000), perhaps because the bedrock hillslopes in this area are more effective at runoff production than other parts of the catchment which are underlain by unconsolidated Quaternary sands and gravels. Due to high transmission loss, runoff generated within the upper reaches is rarely delivered to the alluvial fan and Shalateen city situated at the catchment outlet. The synthetic GIS-based time area zones, on their own, cannot be relied on to model the hydrographs reliably; physical parameters, such as rainfall intensity, distribution, and transmission loss, must also be considered.