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Sensitivity of a hydraulic model to changes in channel erosion during extreme flooding

Wong, J. S., Freer, J. E., Bates, P. D. and Stephens, E. M. (2014) Sensitivity of a hydraulic model to changes in channel erosion during extreme flooding. Hydrological Processes, 29 (2). pp. 261-279. ISSN 0885-6087

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10148

Abstract/Summary

Recent research into flood modelling has primarily concentrated on the simulation of inundation flow without considering the influences of channel morphology. River channels are often represented by a simplified geometry that is implicitly assumed to remain unchanged during flood simulations. However, field evidence demonstrates that significant morphological changes can occur during floods to mobilise the boundary sediments. Despite this, the effect of channel morphology on model results has been largely unexplored. To address this issue, the impact of channel cross-section geometry and channel long-profile variability on flood dynamics is examined using an ensemble of a 1D-2D hydraulic model (LISFLOOD-FP) of the 1:2102 year recurrence interval floods in Cockermouth, UK, within an uncertainty framework. A series of hypothetical scenarios of channel morphology were constructed based on a simple velocity based model of critical entrainment. A Monte-Carlo simulation framework was used to quantify the effects of channel morphology together with variations in the channel and floodplain roughness coefficients, grain size characteristics, and critical shear stress on measures of flood inundation. The results showed that the bed elevation modifications generated by the simplistic equations reflected a good approximation of the observed patterns of spatial erosion despite its overestimation of erosion depths. The effect of uncertainty on channel long-profile variability only affected the local flood dynamics and did not significantly affect the friction sensitivity and flood inundation mapping. The results imply that hydraulic models generally do not need to account for within event morphodynamic changes of the type and magnitude modelled, as these have a negligible impact that is smaller than other uncertainties, e.g. boundary conditions. Instead morphodynamic change needs to happen over a series of events to become large enough to change the hydrodynamics of floods in supply limited gravel-bed rivers like the one used in this research.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:37824
Publisher:Wiley InterScience

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