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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2017-353
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 18 Oct 2017

Research article | 18 Oct 2017

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS). A final paper in NHESS is not foreseen.

Flash-flood forecasting in two Spanish Mediterranean catchments: a comparison of distinct hydrometeorological ensemble prediction strategies

Béatrice Vincendon1 and Arnau Amengual2 Béatrice Vincendon and Arnau Amengual
  • 1CNRM (Météo-France, CNRS), 42 av. Coriolis, 31057 Toulouse Cedex, Toulouse, France
  • 2Grup de Meteorologia, Dep. De Física, Universitat de les Illes Balears. Palma, Mallorca, Spain

Abstract. Hydrological Ensemble Prediction Systems (HEPSs) are becoming more and more popular methods to deal with the meteorological and hydrological uncertainties that affect discharge forecasts. These uncertainties are particularly difficult to handle when dealing with Mediterranean flash-flood forecasting as many hydrological and meteorological factors take place and precipitation comes from small scale convective systems. In this work, the performances of distinct HEPS are compared for two heavy precipitation events that affected two different semi-arid Spanish Mediterranean catchments: the cases of the 03 November 2011 on the Llobregat River in Catalonia, and the 28 September 2012 on the Guadalentín River near in Murcia. The latter case corresponds to the eighth Intense Observing Period (IOP8) of HYMEX field campaign. The uncertainty on quantitative precipitation forecasting is sampled by using two different convection-permitting meteorological ensemble generation strategies. The first EPS strategy consists in dynamically downscaling the ECMWF-EPS directly by means of the WRF model, whereas the second is based on the AROME-WMED model. Its deterministic QPFs are perturbed based on a previous rainfall forecast error climatology and by using the probability density functions of the errors, in term of total amounts and location of the heaviest rainfalls. The population of both ensembles is of 50 members, which are used to drive the semi-distributed and conceptual HEC-HMS and the fully distributed and physically-based ISBA-TOP hydrological models. For each HEPS, the performance is assessed in term of the quantitative discharge forecasts. The results point out the benefits of using (i) a hydrological model when evaluating highly-variable and convective-driven precipitation fields and (ii) an EPS to better encompass these uncertainties arising from the different elements of the HEPS. Issues about the optimal number of ensemble members and impact of the ensemble forecasting lead time are addressed for optimal flash-flood forecasting purposes as well.

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Béatrice Vincendon and Arnau Amengual
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Béatrice Vincendon and Arnau Amengual
Béatrice Vincendon and Arnau Amengual
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Short summary
Discharge forecasts are affected by meteorological and hydrological uncertainties, particularly difficult to handle when dealing with Mediterranean flash-flood. In this work, an intercomparison of two hydrometeorological ensemble strategies is presented for heavy precipitation events that affected semi-arid Spanish catchments. Both stategies are more beneficial than a deterministic approach when conveying information to end-users. Their skill is enhanced by shorter forecasting lead-times.
Discharge forecasts are affected by meteorological and hydrological uncertainties, particularly...
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