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Flood-type classification in mountainous catchments using crisp and fuzzy decision trees


Sikorska, Anna E; Viviroli, Daniel; Seibert, Jan (2015). Flood-type classification in mountainous catchments using crisp and fuzzy decision trees. Water Resources Research, 51(10):7959-7976.

Abstract

Floods are governed by largely varying processes and thus exhibit various behaviors. Classification of flood events into flood types and the determination of their respective frequency is therefore important for a better understanding and prediction of floods. This study presents a flood classification for identifying flood patterns at a catchment scale by means of a fuzzy decision tree. Hence, events are represented as a spectrum of six main possible flood types that are attributed with their degree of acceptance. Considered types are flash, short rainfall, long rainfall, snow-melt, rainfall on snow and, in high alpine catchments, glacier-melt floods. The fuzzy decision tree also makes it possible to acknowledge the uncertainty present in the identification of flood processes and thus allows for more reliable flood class estimates than using a crisp decision tree, which identifies one flood type per event. Based on the data set in nine Swiss mountainous catchments, it was demonstrated that this approach is less sensitive to uncertainties in the classification attributes than the classical crisp approach. These results show that the fuzzy approach bears additional potential for analyses of flood patterns at a catchment scale and thereby it provides more realistic representation of flood processes.

Abstract

Floods are governed by largely varying processes and thus exhibit various behaviors. Classification of flood events into flood types and the determination of their respective frequency is therefore important for a better understanding and prediction of floods. This study presents a flood classification for identifying flood patterns at a catchment scale by means of a fuzzy decision tree. Hence, events are represented as a spectrum of six main possible flood types that are attributed with their degree of acceptance. Considered types are flash, short rainfall, long rainfall, snow-melt, rainfall on snow and, in high alpine catchments, glacier-melt floods. The fuzzy decision tree also makes it possible to acknowledge the uncertainty present in the identification of flood processes and thus allows for more reliable flood class estimates than using a crisp decision tree, which identifies one flood type per event. Based on the data set in nine Swiss mountainous catchments, it was demonstrated that this approach is less sensitive to uncertainties in the classification attributes than the classical crisp approach. These results show that the fuzzy approach bears additional potential for analyses of flood patterns at a catchment scale and thereby it provides more realistic representation of flood processes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:25 Nov 2015 13:29
Last Modified:01 May 2016 00:00
Publisher:American Geophysical Union
ISSN:0043-1397
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/2015WR017326

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