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Evaluating the Utility of Remotely Sensed Soil Moisture for the Characterization of Runoff Response over Canadian Watersheds

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Title: Evaluating the Utility of Remotely Sensed Soil Moisture for the Characterization of Runoff Response over Canadian Watersheds
Author: Ueckermann, Elene
Department: Department of Geography
Program: Geography
Advisor: Berg, Aaron
Abstract: Remotely sensed soil moisture measurements from satellite platforms are increasingly reliable, cost-effective and widely available data sources where in situ measurements are unavailable. This research uses the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity mission (SMOS) satellite-derived soil moisture anomalies over a database of 65 watersheds across Canada from 2011-2014 to analyze the soil moisture-runoff relationship. A spatial analysis of the variability and influences on the strength of this relationship revealed that 32% of catchments showed significant (1 tailed, p<0.05) correlations between the weekly antecedent soil moisture state of the catchment and the weekly runoff ratio. Regions of strongest correlation were related to the topographic variables of slope and elevation, followed by organic carbon and wetland percentage. These results support the use of coarse-scale satellite remote sensing as a valuable data source in hydrological studies, but recommend caution when applying the data to regions where the relationship may be weak or non-existent.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/11546
Date: 2017-08
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