Using remotely sensed data to support flood modelling
Neelz, S., Pender, G., Villanueva, I., Wilson, M., Wright, N. G., Bates, P., Mason, D. and Whitlow, C. (2006) Using remotely sensed data to support flood modelling. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers-Water Management, 159 (1). pp. 35-43. ISSN 1741-7589
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Recent severe flooding in the UK has highlighted the need for better information on flood risk, increasing the pressure on engineers to enhance the capabilities of computer models for flood prediction. This paper evaluates the benefits to be gained from the use of remotely sensed data to support flood modelling. The remotely sensed data available can be used either to produce high-resolution digital terrain models (DTMs) (light detection and ranging (Lidar) data), or to generate accurate inundation mapping of past flood events (airborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data and aerial photography). The paper reports on the modelling of real flood events that occurred at two UK sites on the rivers Severn and Ouse. At these sites a combination of remotely sensed data and recorded hydrographs was available. It is concluded first that light detection and ranging Lidar generated DTMs support the generation of considerably better models and enhance the visualisation of model results and second that flood outlines obtained from airborne SAR or aerial images help develop an appreciation of the hydraulic behaviour of important model components, and facilitate model validation. The need for further research is highlighted by a number of limitations, namely: the difficulties in obtaining an adequate representation of hydraulically important features such as embankment crests and walls; uncertainties in the validation data; and difficulties in extracting flood outlines from airborne SAR images in urban areas.