Project Team: Colorado Water Resources II Team
Team Location: United States Geological Survey (USGS) at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
Stephen Chignell (Colorado State University)
Ryan Anderson (University of Wyoming)
Dr. Paul Evangelista (Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University)
Dr. Melinda Laituri (Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University)
Dr. Stephanie Kampf (Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University)
Each year, flooding has devastating effects on millions of people around the world. As the magnitude and frequency of these events increase with climate change, and human development within floodplains intensifies, there is critical need for monitoring and assessing impacts of extreme events. Satellite remote-sensing data has long served as a rapid and inexpensive tool for regional-scale mapping and assessment of floods. However, significant cloud cover, temporal constraints, and misclassification in developed areas limit the utility of optical sensors for assessing the full magnitude of flood events. This study tested an Independent Component Analysis (ICA) change detection technique for mapping inundation extent of the September 2013 Colorado floods. Landsat 8 OLI and Terra/Aqua MODIS imagery captured before and after peak flow were used to determine maximum flood extent at multiple scales. These surfaces were validated with in situ field measurements of high water marks and subsequently integrated with elevation data to derive flood stage for all major rivers along
Colorado’s northern Front Range. Results were disseminated to partners from Colorado State University’s Geospatial Centroid, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey. These data will serve as valuable tools to calibrate the region’s flood models, supplement stream-gauge measurements damaged in the event, and target channel-remediation efforts.
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