Impervious Surface Area: Effects

Authored by: Carl L. Zimmerman , Daniel L. Civco

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:


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Humans are changing the world on a global scale by altering land use across the planet. Areas that consist of rooftops, driveways, pavements, and other anthropogenic materials are called impervious cover (IC). Measures of IC are often utilized to represent land cover changes and the environmental impacts of urbanization. The presence of IC in a watershed can have profound impacts on the local receiving waters through a variety of changes to the hydrologic cycle. Because IC can be mapped and analyzed with remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies, areas of IC can be compared across time. New low-impact development (LID) methods are becoming available that ameliorate some of the environmental impacts of IC.

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