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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2015, Article ID 838070, 16 pages
Research Article

Modeling the Effects of Land-Cover Change on Rainfall-Runoff Relationships in a Semiarid, Eastern Mediterranean Watershed

1The Remote Sensing Laboratory, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer Campus, 84990 Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel
2Soil Erosion Research Station, Ministry of Agriculture, Emek-Hefer, 40250 Rupin, Israel
3Surface Water and Hydrometeorology, Israeli Hydrological Service, Water Authority, Israel

Received 9 August 2014; Revised 12 January 2015; Accepted 14 January 2015

Academic Editor: Martin Wegehenkel

Copyright © 2015 Noa Ohana-Levi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Temporal changes and spatial patterns are often studied by analyzing land-cover changes (LCCs) using spaceborne images. LCC is an important factor, affecting runoff within watersheds. The objective was to estimate the effects of 20 years of LCCs on rainfall-runoff relations in an extreme rainfall event. A 1989 Landsat TM-derived classification map was used as input for a Kinematic Runoff and Erosion (KINEROS) hydrological model along with the precipitation data of an extreme rainfall event. Model calibration was performed using measured runoff volume data. Validation of the model performance was conducted by comparing the model results to measured data. A similar procedure was used with a 2009 land-cover classification map as an input to the KINEROS model, along with similar precipitation data and calibration parameters, in order to understand the possible outcomes of a rainfall event of such a magnitude and duration after 20 years of LCCs. The results show an increase in runoff volume and peak discharge between the time periods as a result of LCCs. A strong relationship was detected between vegetation cover and the runoff volume. The LCCs with most pronounced effects on runoff volumes were related to urbanization and vegetation removal.