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Type: Journal article
Title: An empirical investigation into the effect of antecedent precipitation on flood volume
Author: Bennett, B.
Leonard, M.
Deng, Y.
Westra, S.
Citation: Journal of Hydrology, 2018; 567:435-445
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 0022-1694
Statement of
Bree Bennett, Michael Leonard, Yu Deng, Seth Westra
Abstract: The magnitude of floods depends not only on the intensity and pattern of precipitation during the flood event (the ‘flood-producing’ precipitation), but also on the moisture stored in the catchment, which arises from antecedent hydrological processes over many preceding timescales. To characterise this effect, an empirical study is conducted on the influence of antecedent precipitation on significant flood events across multiple climate zones and catchment conditions, using 100 Australian catchments with hourly streamflow and precipitation. Antecedent conditions are shown to have a significant influence on flood volume, with three quarters of catchments having at least a 50% difference in flood volume depending on whether the catchment is wet or dry before the flood-producing precipitation event. The study considers the sensitivity of flow to antecedent precipitation by means of an ‘elasticity’ metric, which indicates the proportional change in flow for a change in antecedent precipitation or flood-producing precipitation. Flood-producing precipitation nevertheless remains the dominant flood driver across most catchments, with the elasticity of flow to antecedent precipitation typically being between 28% and 37% of the elasticity to flood-producing precipitation. Importantly, the elasticity of flow to antecedent precipitation relative to flood-producing precipitation decreases with increasing event magnitude, highlighting that conclusions of future change based on annual maximum streamflow may not be reflective of the processes that operate for more extreme floods that have the greatest impact on society.
Keywords: Antecedent moisture conditions; soil moisture; flood design; runoff; precipitation; elasticity
Rights: © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.10.025
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 3
Civil and Environmental Engineering publications

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