Inundation prediction in tropical wetlands from JULES-CaMa-Flood global land surface simulations

Marthews, Toby R.; Dadson, Simon J.; Clark, Douglas B.; Blyth, Eleanor M.; Hayman, Garry D.; Yamazaki, Dai; Becher, Olivia R.E.; Martínez-de la Torre, Alberto; Prigent, Catherine; Jiménez, Carlos. 2022 Inundation prediction in tropical wetlands from JULES-CaMa-Flood global land surface simulations. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 26 (12). 3151-3175.

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Wetlands play a key role in hydrological and biogeochemical cycles and provide multiple ecosystem services to society. However, reliable data on the extent of global inundated areas and the magnitude of their contribution to local hydrological dynamics remain surprisingly uncertain. Global hydrological models and land surface models (LSMs) include only the most major inundation sources and mechanisms; therefore, quantifying the uncertainties in available data sources remains a challenge. We address these problems by taking a leading global data product on inundation extents (Global Inundation Extent from Multi-Satellites, GIEMS) and matching against predictions from a global hydrodynamic model (Catchment-based Macro-scale Floodplain – CaMa-Flood) driven by runoff data generated by a land surface model (Joint UK Land and Environment Simulator, JULES). The ability of the model to reproduce patterns and dynamics shown by the observational product is assessed in a number of case studies across the tropics, which show that it performs well in large wetland regions, with a good match between corresponding seasonal cycles. At a finer spatial scale, we found that water inputs (e.g. groundwater inflow to wetland) became underestimated in comparison to water outputs (e.g. infiltration and evaporation from wetland) in some wetlands (e.g. Sudd, Tonlé Sap), and the opposite occurred in others (e.g. Okavango) in our model predictions. We also found evidence for an underestimation of low levels of inundation in our satellite-based inundation data (approx. 10 % of total inundation may not be recorded). Additionally, some wetlands display a clear spatial displacement between observed and simulated inundation as a result of overestimation or underestimation of overbank flooding upstream. This study provides timely information on inherent biases in inundation prediction and observation that can contribute to our current ability to make critical predictions of inundation events at both regional and global levels.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hydro-climate Risks (Science Area 2017-)
Directors, SCs
UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 1027-5606
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Date made live: 16 Sep 2022 15:22 +0 (UTC)

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