Flooded with error: handling uncertainty in SRTM 1” for the assessment of sea level rise in the Mississippi River Delta

Authors: Ameen Kadhim*,
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Coastal and Marine
Keywords: Digital elevation Modeling error (SRTM), Sea Level Rise. Mississippi River Delta
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 6:20 PM
Room: Napoleon B1, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Digital elevation data is essential to estimate coastal vulnerability to flooding due to sea level rise. Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) 1 Arc-Second Global is considered the best free global digital elevation data available. However, inundation estimates from SRTM are subject to uncertainty due to inaccuracies in the elevation data. Small systematic errors in low, flat areas can generate large errors in inundation models, and SRTM is subject to positive bias in the presence of vegetation canopy, such as along channels and within marshes. In this study, we conduct an error assessment and develop statistical error modeling for SRTM to improve the quality of elevation data in these at-risk regions. Using the Mississippi River Delta as a reference, we address several key questions for developing globally applicable error models for inundation assessment: How does SRTM error correlate with global canopy cover (MODIS MOD44B)? To what extent is SRTM error reduced using MODIS and other global covariates?? How effective are geostatistical models at reproducing inundation model results using high-accuracy USGS NED in this region? We conclude by speculating on the application of this model, developed for the Mississippi River Delta area, to similar near coastal riverine regions around the world.

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