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Using ensemble reforecasts to generate flood thresholds for improved global flood forecasting

Zsoter, E. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7998-0130, Prudhomme, C. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1722-2497, Stephens, E. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5439-7563, Pappenberger, F. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1766-2898 and Cloke, H. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1472-868X (2020) Using ensemble reforecasts to generate flood thresholds for improved global flood forecasting. Journal of Flood Risk Management. ISSN 1753-318X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/jfr3.12658

Abstract/Summary

Global flood forecasting systems rely on predefining flood thresholds to highlight potential upcoming flood events. Existing methods for flood threshold definition are often based on reanalysis datasets using a single threshold across all forecast lead times, such as in the Global Flood Awareness System. This leads to inconsistencies between how the extreme flood events are represented in the flood thresholds and the ensemble forecasts. This paper explores the potential benefits of using river flow ensemble reforecasts to generate flood thresholds that can deliver improved reliability and skill, increasing the confidence in the forecasts for humanitarian and civil protection partners. The choice of dataset and methods used to sample annual maxima in the threshold computation, both for reanalysis and reforecast, are analysed in terms of threshold magnitude, forecast reliability and skill for different flood severity levels and lead times. The variability of threshold magnitudes, when estimated from the different annual maxima samples, can be extremely large, as can the subsequent impact on forecast skill. Reanalysis-based thresholds should only be used for the first few days, after which ensemble-reforecast-based thresholds, that vary with forecast lead time and can account for the forecast bias trends, provide more reliable and skilful flood forecasts.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:91631
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell

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