Two-dimensional hydraulic flood modelling using a finite-element mesh decomposed according to vegetation and topographic features derived from airborne scanning laser altimetry

DM Cobby, DC Mason*, MS Horritt, PD Bates

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Airborne scanning laser altimetry (LiDAR) is an important new data source that can provide two-dimensional river flood models with spatially distributed floodplain topography for model bathymetry, together with vegetation heights for parameterization of model friction. Methods are described for improving such models by decomposing the model's finite-element mesh to reflect floodplain vegetation features such as hedges and trees having different frictional properties to their surroundings, and significant floodplain topographic features having high height curvatures. The decomposition is achieved using an image segmentation system that converts the LiDAR height image into separate images of surface topography and vegetation height at each point. The vegetation height map is used to estimate a friction factor at each mesh node. The spatially distributed friction model has the advantage that it is physically based, and removes the need for a model calibration exercise in which free parameters specifying friction in the channel and floodplain are adjusted to achieve best fit between modelled and observed flood extents. The scheme was tested in a modelling study of a flood that occurred on the River Severn, UK, in 1998. A satellite synthetic aperture radar image of flood extent was used to validate the model predictions. The simulated hydraulics using the decomposed mesh gave a better representation of the observed flood extent than the more simplistic but computationally efficient approach of sampling topography and vegetation friction factors on to larger floodplain elements in an undecomposed mesh, as well as the traditional approach using no LiDAR-derived data but simply using a constant floodplain friction factor. Use of the decomposed mesh also allowed velocity variations to be predicted in the neighbourhood of vegetation features such as hedges. These variations could be of use in predicting localized erosion and deposition patterns that might result in the event of a flood. Copyright (C) 2003 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

Translated title of the contributionTwo-dimensional hydraulic flood modelling using a finite-element mesh decomposed according to vegetation and topographic features derived from airborne scanning laser altimetry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1979-2000
Number of pages22
JournalHydrological Processes
Volume17
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003

Bibliographical note

Publisher: John Wilay & Sons

Keywords

  • RESOLUTION
  • Severn
  • RADAR
  • SURFACE CURRENTS
  • segmentation
  • HYDROLOGY
  • INTERFEROMETRY
  • INUNDATION
  • RIVER
  • distributed friction
  • synthetic aperture radar

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