USGS

Use of Digital Land-cover Data from the Landsat Satellite in Estimating Streamflow Characteristics in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee

U.S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Investigations Report 82-4059

by E. F. Hollyday and G. R. Hansen

This report is available as a pdf below


Abstract

Characteristics of Streamflow at ungaged sites in coal-mining areas of the Cumberland Plateau may be estimated with regression equations that relate streamflow characteristics to the physiographic and climatic characteristics of the corresponding drainage basins . An experiment was performed to compare the accuracy of equations using basin characteristics derived from maps and climatological records (control group equations) with the accuracy of equations using basin characteristics derived from digital processing of Landsat spectral data as well as maps and climatological records (experimental group equations) .

Results of this experiment show that (with the exception of low flows and four of six annual peak logarithms) drainage area can explain more than 90 percent of the variance in all streamflow characteristics in both groups of equations . Seventeen of 39 experimental group equations that have two basin characteristics each are different from the corresponding control group equations. Five of the 17 differing experimental group equations have no counterpart in the control group because of lack of significance in control group basin characteristics, seven are slightly more accurate, and five are not measurably different in accuracy . When the equations in both groups are arranged into six flow categories, there is no substantial difference in accuracy between equations using basin characteristics derived from maps and climatological records (control group) and equations using basin characteristics derived from Landsat tapes as well as maps and climatological records (experimental group) for this particular study area, the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee .

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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