On generating digital elevation models from liDAR data – resolution versus accuracy and topographic wetness index indices in northern peatlands
Global change and GHG emission modelling are dependent on accurate wetness estimations for predictions of e.g. methane emissions. This study aims to quantify how the slope, drainage area and the TWI vary with the resolution of DEMs for a flat peatland area. Six DEMs with spatial resolutions from 0.5 to 90 m were interpolated with four different search radiuses. The relationship between accuracy of the DEM and the slope was tested. The LiDAR elevation data was divided into two data sets. The number of data points facilitated an evaluation dataset with data points not more than 10 mm away from the cell centre points in the interpolation dataset. The DEM was evaluated using a quantile-quantile test and the normalized median absolute deviation. It showed independence of the resolution when using the same search radius. The accuracy of the estimated elevation for different slopes was tested using the 0.5 meter DEM and it showed a higher deviation from evaluation data for steep areas. The slope estimations between resolutions showed differences with values that exceeded 50%. Drainage areas were tested for three resolutions, with coinciding evaluation points. The model ability to generate drainage area at each resolution was tested by pair wise comparison of three data subsets and showed differences of more than 50% in 25% of the evaluated points. The results show that consideration of DEM resolution is a necessity for the use of slope, drainage area and TWI data in large scale modelling.
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