PMID: 12079113Jun 25, 2002Paper

Evaluation of land use/land cover datasets for urban watershed modeling

Water Science and Technology : a Journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research
S J BurianT N McPherson


Land use/land cover (LULC) data are a vital component for nonpoint source pollution modeling. Most watershed hydrology and pollutant loading models use, in some capacity, LULC information to generate runoff and pollutant loading estimates. Simple equation methods predict runoff and pollutant loads using runoff coefficients or pollutant export coefficients that are often correlated to LULC type. Complex models use input variables and parameters to represent watershed characteristics and pollutant buildup and washoff rates as a function of LULC type. Whether using simple or complex models an accurate LULC dataset with an appropriate spatial resolution and level of detail is paramount for reliable predictions. The study presented in this paper compared and evaluated several LULC dataset sources for application in urban environmental modeling. The commonly used USGS LULC datasets have coarser spatial resolution and lower levels of classification than other LULC datasets. In addition, the USGS datasets do not accurately represent the land use in areas that have undergone significant land use change during the past two decades. We performed a watershed modeling analysis of three urban catchments in Los Angeles, California, USA to inv...Continue Reading

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