Estimates of watershed impervious cover are widely used to account for the hydrologic impacts of urbanization, but differences between estimation approaches have received little attention. Five imperviousness estimation approaches were compared for 26 gauged watersheds in Eastern Massachusetts, and accuracy of four of the approaches was evaluated against a high-resolution dataset. The NLCD Imperviousness dataset consistently underestimated imperviousness in areas of low development and overestimated it in more-developed areas. Population density approaches consistently underestimated imperviousness in developed areas. Relative error in estimates reached +/-50% in some watersheds. Additionally, a meta-analysis was performed on 14 urban flood frequency studies to understand the sensitivity of design floods to imperviousness, which we term urban elasticity. Urban elasticity was found to decrease with increasing return period. Elasticity values ranged widely, from 0.06 to 1.24, which may be due in part to bias in the imperviousness estimation approaches of the underlying studies.
|Advisor:||Vogel, Richard M., Parmenter, Barbara M., Kirshen, Paul H.|
|Commitee:||Kirshen, Paul H., Parmenter, Barbara M.|
|School Location:||United States -- Massachusetts|
|Source:||MAI 47/01M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Design flood, Elasticity, Estimation, Flood frequency, Imperviousness, Urbanization|
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