Distributed hydrological modelling using weather radar in gauged and ungauged basins

Cole, Steven J.; Moore, Robert J.. 2009 Distributed hydrological modelling using weather radar in gauged and ungauged basins. Advances in Water Resources, 32 (7). 1107-1120.

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Distributed hydrological modelling using space–time estimates of rainfall from weather radar provides a natural approach to area-wide flood forecasting and warning at any location, whether gauged or ungauged. However, radar estimates of rainfall may lack consistent, quantitative accuracy. Also, the formulation of hydrological models in distributed form may be problematic due to process complexity and scaling issues. Here, the aim is to first explore ways of improving radar rainfall accuracy through combination with raingauge network data via integrated multiquadric methods. When the resulting gridded rainfall estimates are employed as input to hydrological models, the simulated river flows show marked improvements when compared to using radar data alone. Secondly, simple forms of physical–conceptual distributed hydrological model are considered, capable of exploiting spatial datasets on topography and, where necessary, land-cover, soil and geology properties. The simplest Grid-to-Grid model uses only digital terrain data to delineate flow pathways and to control runoff production, the latter by invoking a probability-distributed relation linking terrain slope to soil absorption capacity. Model performance is assessed over nested river basins in northwest England, employing a lumped model as a reference. When the distributed model is used with the gridded radar-based rainfall estimators, it shows particular benefits for forecasting at ungauged locations.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Water > WA01 Water extremes > WA01.1 New methodologies to quantify floods, flows and droughts
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 3 - Science for Water Management > WA - 3.1 - Develop next generation methods for river flow frequency estimation and forecasting
CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Water > WA01 Water extremes > WA01.2 New methodologies to solve the ungauged site problem
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Boorman (to September 2014)
ISSN: 0309-1708
Additional Keywords: Distributed hydrological modelling, Ungauged, Weather radar, Raingauge, Rainfall estimation, Multiquadric, Flood forecasting
NORA Subject Terms: Meteorology and Climatology
Earth Sciences
Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 05 Aug 2009 12:44 +0 (UTC)

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