This paper examines the ability of LiDAR topography to provide reach-scale width values for the analysis of downstream hydraulic geometry relationships along some streams in the Dolomites (northern Italy). Multiple reach-scale dimensions can provide representative geometries and statistics characterising the longitudinal variability in the channel, improving the understanding of geomorphic processes across networks. Starting from the minimum curvature derived from a LiDAR DTM, the proposed algorithm uses a statistical approach for the identification of the scale of analysis, and for the automatic characterisation of reach-scale bankfull widths. The downstream adjustment in channel morphology is then related to flow parameters (drainage area and stream power). With the correct planning of a LiDAR survey, uncertainties in the procedure are principally due to the resolution of the DTM. The outputs are in general comparable in quality to field survey measurements, and the procedure allows the quick comparison among different watersheds. The proposed automatic approach could improve knowledge about river systems with highly variable widths, and about systems in areas covered by vegetation or inaccessible to field surveys. With proven effectiveness, this research could offer an interesting starting point for the analysis of differences between watersheds, and to improve knowledge about downstream channel adjustment in relation, for example, to scale and landscape forcing (e.g. sediment transport, tectonics, lithology, climate, geomorphology, and anthropic pressure).

Downstream hydraulic geometry relationships: Gathering reference reach-scale width values from LiDAR

SOFIA, GIULIA;TAROLLI, PAOLO;DALLA FONTANA, GIANCARLO
2015

Abstract

This paper examines the ability of LiDAR topography to provide reach-scale width values for the analysis of downstream hydraulic geometry relationships along some streams in the Dolomites (northern Italy). Multiple reach-scale dimensions can provide representative geometries and statistics characterising the longitudinal variability in the channel, improving the understanding of geomorphic processes across networks. Starting from the minimum curvature derived from a LiDAR DTM, the proposed algorithm uses a statistical approach for the identification of the scale of analysis, and for the automatic characterisation of reach-scale bankfull widths. The downstream adjustment in channel morphology is then related to flow parameters (drainage area and stream power). With the correct planning of a LiDAR survey, uncertainties in the procedure are principally due to the resolution of the DTM. The outputs are in general comparable in quality to field survey measurements, and the procedure allows the quick comparison among different watersheds. The proposed automatic approach could improve knowledge about river systems with highly variable widths, and about systems in areas covered by vegetation or inaccessible to field surveys. With proven effectiveness, this research could offer an interesting starting point for the analysis of differences between watersheds, and to improve knowledge about downstream channel adjustment in relation, for example, to scale and landscape forcing (e.g. sediment transport, tectonics, lithology, climate, geomorphology, and anthropic pressure).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3162327
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