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2 (51) - 2009

Series II: Forestry • Wood Engineering • Agriculture and Food Engineering

SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION ANALYSIS

BY USING WATERSHEDS

DIGITAL ELEVATION MODELS

V.D. PACURAR1

peculiarities of the solar direct radiation in mountain regions, using the GIS

digital elevation models. There are given a set of formulas for calculating the

direct solar energy received by various surfaces as a function of the

incidence angle. Using the thematic maps with the slope gradient and aspect

of each raster cell, there were calculated the layers with the equivalent

latitudes and longitudes for the experimental watershed Valea Baii, located

south of Brasov, in the Piatra Mare Mountains. The differences between the

various areas within the watershed are illustrated by the area distribution on

classes of equivalent coordinates. These variations are obviously affecting

the local climate conditions and should be taken into account for

establishing climate change scenarios at tree stand level.

soils, vegetation and certainly to the

The natural systems and their specific different land uses and their management

processes show an obvious spatial scenarios. The complex watershed model

variability and certainly a time variation. (realized in an analytical raster GIS) is

Their complexity imposes the system definitely a mathematical model, but it

mathematical modeling and process simu- differs from the classical ones by using

lation as major research methods and functions synthetically defined through

useful tools in the decision making process tables of values instead of analytical

concerning the natural resources mana- functions. These synthetical functions,

gement. We consider that their importance f(x,y), are the arrays, the layers of the GIS

will increase in the future, in the context of raster representation. The GIS modules

human induced environment modifi- enabling cartographic and especially 3D-

cations, such as the largely debated climate views lead to some similarities with the

changes, which will make inappropriate physical models, creating genuine

many management "golden rules" derived computer "virtual laboratories".

from past experience. The watershed models, comprise a large

The mountain watersheds are charac- number of layers, thematic maps, referring

terized by large data sets referring to to morphometry, cover etc. The core of

1

Silviculture Dept., Transilvania University of Braşov.

Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braşov • Vol. 2 (51) - 2009 • Series II

2

these models is represented by the digital January 4th, when the Earth is closest to the

elevation model (DEM), an array (matrix) Sun and the lower one on July 5th, when it

with cell elevation values. In this way, the is furthest.

landforms could be accurately represented As passes the atmosphere, the solar

at “meso” (medium) level, but certainly, radiation suffers an extinction, through

the geomorphologic details (at micro scale) absorption and scattering, which depends

are stochastically distributed. The accurate on the transparency coefficient (inverse of

representation of the geomorphology the extinction coefficient) and the optical

makes a great difference, because the depth (or air mass). Consequently, the

landforms are the backbone of the site, intensity of the radiation on a surface

enabling us to take account of: the di- perpendicular to the beam, could be

fferent microclimatic conditions (depen- calculated using the equation expressing

dent of steepness, aspect, slope position the Beers-Bouguer Law:

-and also influenced by soil and cover 1

peculiarities), soil properties spatial .

cos( z ) (3)

I = I0 ⋅ p

variation (its depth, clay content etc. are

obviously varying along a hillslope), etc. where:

These digital models are useful for I- radiation intensity on normal surface

simulating a wide range of natural (perpendicular to the beam) [W/m2];

processes, because a watershed represents I0, solar ‘constant’,[W/m2];

a geosystem, a complex system integrating p, total transparency coefficient [-];

several related ecosystems, therefore a z – the zenith angle (the angle between the

basic unit for many geophysical and sun beam and the vertical line).

biological processes. Thus, the watershed The zenith angle (z), which is

models are useful for applications in complementary to the solar “height” angle

mountain climatology, in forest soils and (h0=900-z), could be calculated using the

site analysis, generally in mountain and following trigonometric relation:

forest ecology. cos(z) = sin(λ)sin(δ) +

cos(λ)cos(δ)cos(ω) (4)

2. Solar radiation calculations where: λ − the latitude of the location;

δ − the declination of the sun;

Solar radiation incident outside the ω −the hour angle.

earth's atmosphere is called extraterrestrial The declination of the sun is the angle

radiation [4]. On average the extra- between the earth's axis and the plane

terrestrial radiance, also called the ‘solar perpendicular to the line between the earth

constant’, is 1367 W/m2, but this value and the sun. An approximate formula for

slightly varies during the year. The the declination of the sun is given below:

extraterrestrial radiation for each Julian π 2π ⋅ ( 284 + n)

day (n, counted from January 1st) could be δ = 23.45 ⋅ ⋅ sin (5)

180 365

calculated, using the following formulas: The hour angle could be calculated for

Io= 1367 . [1.00011 + 0.034221 . cos(β) + any time moment, usually for any hour,

0.001280 . sin(β) + +0.000719 . cos(2β) after computing the solar time (Tsolar).

+ 0.000077 . sin(2β)]. [W/m2] (1) ω = π . (12 - Tsolar) / 12 (6)

β = 2πn / 365 . [radians] (2) By multiplying the radiation intensity, I

The higher values of the ‘solar constant’ [W/m2], on the normal surface, given by

are recorded in the boreal winter, around (3), with cos(θ), where θ is the angle

PACURAR V.: Mountain Areas Solar Radiation Spatial Distribution Analysis…

3

to the considered surface, one can obtain inclination and aspect for each cell were

the values corresponding to an elementary produced and these are illustrated in the

surface having the inclination α and being Figure 1.

rotated γ degrees from the south-north For calculating the incoming radiation on

direction. a surface that is not horizontal, we can

consider that its inclination (α –slope

2. Equivalent latitude and longitude gradient) and the azimuth angle (γ− aspect)

determination for an experimental determine a latitude and longitude

watershed modification. These equivalent latitude

(eqlat) and longitude (eqlong) could be

In order to test the possibilities offered calculated using the relations (7) and (8)

by the Geographical Information Systems given below[1], [3].

for establishing the spatial distribution of By substituting the latitude and the

the direct solar radiation in a mountain longitude in formula (4), and operating

area we considered an experimental several simplifications we come to the

watershed, Valea Baii, located south of equation (9), which can be used for

Brasov, in the Piatra Mare Mountains for establishing the angle θ, and consequently

which the digital complex model [2], as the incoming solar radiation for any raster

described in the introduction, was realized. cell at a certain time moment (day and

Using the digital elevation model and the hour giving the δ and ω angles).

context operators, the layers with the slope

eqlat = arcsin[cos(α ) sin(λ ) + sin(α ) cos(λ ) cos(γ )] (7)

sin(α ) sin(γ )

eqlong = arctg (8)

cos(α ) cos(λ ) − sin(α ) sin(λ ) cos(γ )

cos(θ) = sin(δ)sin(λ)cos(α) - sin(δ)cos(λ)sin(α)cos(γ) + cos(δ)cos(λ)cos(α)cos(ω) +

+cos(δ)sin(λ)sin(α)cos(γ)cos(ω) + cos(δ)sin(α)sin(γ)sin(ω) (9)

Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braşov • Vol. 2 (51) - 2009 • Series II

4

Fig. 1. Thematic maps of aspect and slope gradients for the Valea Băii watershed

30

25

Area Percentage (%)

20

15

10

0

< 10 10-20 20-30 30-40 40-50 50-60 60-70 70-80 80-90

Equivalent latitude

16

14

12

Area Percentage (%)

10

8

6

4

2

0

-10..0

0..10

-90..-40

-40..-30

-30..-20

-20..-10

10..20

20..30

30..40

40..50

50..90

Equivalent longitude

Fig. 2. The classes distribution of equivalent latitude and longitude in V.Băii watershed

Using in equations (7) and (8) the The equivalent longitudes are

arrays of slope and aspect values, with indicating the “time change” in the solar

the Image Calculator module of Idrisi, radiation daily regime, respectively the

the equivalent latitude and longitude moment of maximum incoming energy.

were calculated for each cell. The From figure 2 results that the equivalent

percentage distribution of watershed longitudes are more evenly distributed

area on categories is shown in Figure 2. within the catchment. Anyway there are

more cells with positive corrections due

3. Conclusions to the general orientation of the

watershed.

The equivalent latitudes should not be These parameters are useful for

considered as indicating climate con- comparing the meteorological data

ditions comparable with those at the measured at cell level and determining

same coordinates on Earth (raster cells the spatial variation pattern. On this

with low equivalent latitudes are not in basis it is possible to evaluate the impact

tropical conditions) but offer a sound of the possible climate changes at local

basis for analysing the differences level.

among various elementary areas. On the

hillslopes the solar beams are heating Acknowledgements

the land more than on similar horizontal

surface. In Figure 2 we can observe that The researches presented are part of

almost all the watershed is characterised the project PN II Idei, ID_206, funded

by equivalent latitudes lower than the by CNCSIS-UEFISCSU (contract

real geographic one (45o). 310/1.10.2007).

PACURAR V.: Mountain Areas Solar Radiation Spatial Distribution Analysis…

5

References 2006.

3. Savabi, M.R., Young, R.A.: Winter

1. Nicks, A.D., Harp ,J.F.: - Stochastic Hydrology. WEPP Documentation,

generation of temperature and solar N.S.E.R. Laboratory, U.S.D.A.,

radiation data. In: Journal of 1995.

Hydrology, 48, 1980, p. 71-82. 4. Stull, R.B.: Meteorology Today for

2. Păcurar, V.D.: Utilizarea sistemelor Scientists and Engineers. Second

de informaţii geografice în mo- Ed., Thomson Learning, Brooks

delarea şi simularea proceselor /Cole, 2000.

hidrologice. Ed.Lux Libris, Braşov,

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