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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-174
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 25 Jun 2018

Research article | 25 Jun 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

A stochastic event-based approach for flood estimation in catchments with mixed rainfall/snowmelt flood regimes

Valeriya Filipova1, Deborah Lawrence2, and Thomas Skaugen2 Valeriya Filipova et al.
  • 1University of Southeast Norway,INHM, Gullbringvegen 36, 3800 Bø, Norway
  • 2Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate,P.O. Box 5091 Maj., N-0301 Oslo

Abstract. The estimation of extreme floods is associated with high uncertainty, in part due to the limited length of streamflow records. Traditionally, flood frequency analysis or event-based model using a single design storm have been applied. We propose here an alternative, stochastic event-based modelling approach. The stochastic PQRUT method involves Monte Carlo procedure to simulate different combinations of initial conditions, rainfall and snowmelt, from which a distribution of flood peaks can be constructed. The stochastic PQRUT was applied for 20 small and medium-sized catchments in Norway and the results show good fit to the observations. A sensitivity analysis of the method indicates that the soil saturation level is less important than the rainfall input and the parameters of the PQRUT model for flood peaks with return periods higher than 100 years, and that excluding the snow routine can change the seasonality of the flood peaks. Estimates for the 100- and 1000-year return level based on the stochastic PQRUT model are compared with results for a) statistical frequency analysis, and b) a standard implementation of the event-based PQRUT method. The differences between the estimates can be up to 200% for some catchments, which highlights the uncertainty in these methods.

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Short summary
This paper presents a stochastic event-based method for analysis of extreme floods, which uses a Monte Carlo procedure to sample initial conditions, snowmelt and rainfall. A study of 20 catchments in Norway shows that this method gives flood estimates that are closer to those obtained using statistical flood frequency analysis than a deterministic event-based model based on a single design storm.
This paper presents a stochastic event-based method for analysis of extreme floods, which uses a...
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