Improving estimates of streamflow characteristics by using Landsat-1 imagery

Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey
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Abstract

Imagery from the first Earth Resources Technology Satellite (renamed Landsat-1) was used to discriminate physical features of drainage basins in an effort to improve equations used to estimate streamflow characteristics at gaged and ungaged sites. Records of 20 gaged basins in the Delmarva Peninsula of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia were analyzed for 40 statistical streamflow characteristics. Equations relating these characteristics to basin characteristics were obtained by a technique of multiple linear regression. A control group of equations contains basin characteristics derived from maps. An experimental group of equations contains basin characteristics derived from maps and imagery. Characteristics from imagery were forest, riparian (streambank) vegetation, water, and combined agricultural and urban land use. These basin characteristics were isolated photographically by techniques of film-density discrimination. The area of each characteristic in each basin was measured photometrically. Comparison of equations in the control group with corresponding equations in the experimental group reveals that for 12 out of 40 equations the standard error of estimate was reduced by more than 10 percent. As an example, the standard error of estimate of the equation for the 5-year recurrence-interval flood peak was reduced from 46 to 32 percent. Similarly, the standard error of the equation for the mean monthly flow for September was reduced from 32 to 24 percent, the standard error for the 7-day, 2-year recurrence low flow was reduced from 136 to 102 percent, and the standard error for the 3-day, 2-year flood volume was reduced from 30 to 12 percent. It is concluded that data from Landsat imagery can substantially improve the accuracy of estimates of some streamflow characteristics at sites in the Delmarva Peninsula.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Improving estimates of streamflow characteristics by using Landsat-1 imagery
Series title Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey
Volume 4
Issue 5
Year Published 1976
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Description 15 p.
First page 517
Last page 531
Country United States
State Maryland, Delaware, Virginia
Other Geospatial Delmarva Peninsula
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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