Flash-flood potential assessment and mapping by integrating the weights-of-evidence and frequency ratio statistical methods in GIS environment – case study: Bâsca Chiojdului River catchment (Romania)

Abstract

Given the significant worldwide human and economic losses caused due to floods annually, reducing the negative consequences of these hazards is a major concern in development strategies at different spatial scales. A basic step in flood risk management is identifying areas susceptible to flood occurrences. This paper proposes a methodology allowing the identification of areas with high potential of accelerated surface run-off and consequently, of flash-flood occurrences. The methodology involves assessment and mapping in GIS environment of flash flood potential index (FFPI), by integrating two statistical methods: frequency ratio and weights-of-evidence. The methodology was applied for Bâsca Chiojdului River catchment (340 \(\hbox {km}^{2}\)), located in the Carpathians Curvature region (Romania). Firstly, the areas with torrential phenomena were identified and the main factors controlling the surface run-off were selected (in this study nine geographical factors were considered). Based on the features of the considered factors, many classes were set for each of them. In the next step, the weights of each class/category of the considered factors were determined, by identifying their spatial relationships with the presence or absence of torrential phenomena. Finally, the weights for each class/category of geographical factors were summarized in GIS, resulting the FFPI values for each of the two statistical methods. These values were divided into five classes of intensity and were mapped. The final results were used to estimate the flash-flood potential and also to identify the most susceptible areas to this phenomenon. Thus, the high and very high values of FFPI characterize more than one-third of the study catchment. The result validation was performed by (i) quantifying the rate of the number of pixels corresponding to the torrential phenomena considered for the study (training area) and for the results’ testing (validating area) and (ii) plotting the ROC (receiver operating characteristics) curve.

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Acknowledgements

Authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers of the Journal of Earth System Science, for their critical and valuable comments that helped to bring the manuscript into its present form.

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Correspondence to Romulus Costache.

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Costache, R., Zaharia, L. Flash-flood potential assessment and mapping by integrating the weights-of-evidence and frequency ratio statistical methods in GIS environment – case study: Bâsca Chiojdului River catchment (Romania). J Earth Syst Sci 126, 59 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12040-017-0828-9

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Keywords

  • FFPI
  • weights-of-evidence
  • frequency ratio
  • GIS
  • Bâsca Chiojdului River
  • run-off
  • flash-flood
  • ArcGIS