Westra, T, De Wulf, RR (2009). Modelling yearly flooding extent of the Waza-Logone floodplain in northern Cameroon based on MODIS and rainfall data. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, 30(21), 5527-5548.
The Sahelian floodplains are of high ecological and economical importance, providing water and fresh pasture in the dry season. A spatial model is presented to predict the yearly flooding extent of the Waza-Logone floodplain based on cumulative runoff in the catchment area and estimations of the soil moisture prior to the flooding. Observations of flooding extent were based on thresholding 16-day composite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) shortwave infrared (SWIR) images. The Soil Conservation Service Curve Number (SCS-CN) method was used to calculate cumulative runoff within the Logone catchment area based on rainfall estimates (RFEs) for Africa. MODIS SWIR images acquired prior to the flooding were used as indicators for soil moisture. The mean observed flooding extent of the Waza-Logone floodplain during the period 2000-2005 was 6747 km 2 with a standard deviation of 1838 km(2). Multiple regression analysis was performed to create a predictive model forecasting flooding extent 1.5 months in advance with a coefficient of determination (R-2) equal to 0.957. Multiple regression modelling was also performed for three subregions separately. The 1.5-month forecast model for the Waza subregion resulted in the highest accuracy (R-2 = 0.950). A floodwater distribution map was created for this subregion model, allowing determination where the flooding occurs for an estimated flood size. The average additional error caused by the mapping procedure was 138 km(2), which is relatively small compared to an average flooded area of 3211 km(2) for the Waza subregion. As the flooding extent in the Waza-Logone floodplain is highly correlated to the amount of natural resources available in the dry season, the model may be a valuable tool for sustainable management of these resources.