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Uncertainty assessment of synthetic design hydrographs for gauged and ungauged catchments


Brunner, Manuela I; Sikorska, Anna E; Furrer, Reinhard; Favre, Anne-Catherine (2018). Uncertainty assessment of synthetic design hydrographs for gauged and ungauged catchments. Water Resources Research, 54(3):1493-1512.

Abstract

Design hydrographs described by peak discharge, hydrograph volume, and hydrograph shape are essential for engineering tasks involving storage. Such design hydrographs are inherently uncertain as are classical flood estimates focusing on peak discharge only. Various sources of uncertainty contribute to the total uncertainty of synthetic design hydrographs for gauged and ungauged catchments. These comprise model uncertainties, sampling uncertainty, and uncertainty due to the choice of a regionalization method. A quantification of the uncertainties associated with flood estimates is essential for reliable decision making and allows for the identification of important uncertainty sources. We therefore propose an uncertainty assessment framework for the quantification of the uncertainty associated with synthetic design hydrographs. The framework is based on bootstrap simulations and consists of three levels of complexity. On the first level, we assess the uncertainty due to individual uncertainty sources. On the second level, we quantify the total uncertainty of design hydrographs for gauged catchments and the total uncertainty of regionalizing them to ungauged catchments but independently from the construction uncertainty. On the third level, we assess the coupled uncertainty of synthetic design hydrographs in ungauged catchments, jointly considering construction and regionalization uncertainty. We find that the most important sources of uncertainty in design hydrograph construction are the record length and the choice of the flood sampling strategy. The total uncertainty of design hydrographs in ungauged catchments depends on the catchment properties and is not negligible in our case.

Abstract

Design hydrographs described by peak discharge, hydrograph volume, and hydrograph shape are essential for engineering tasks involving storage. Such design hydrographs are inherently uncertain as are classical flood estimates focusing on peak discharge only. Various sources of uncertainty contribute to the total uncertainty of synthetic design hydrographs for gauged and ungauged catchments. These comprise model uncertainties, sampling uncertainty, and uncertainty due to the choice of a regionalization method. A quantification of the uncertainties associated with flood estimates is essential for reliable decision making and allows for the identification of important uncertainty sources. We therefore propose an uncertainty assessment framework for the quantification of the uncertainty associated with synthetic design hydrographs. The framework is based on bootstrap simulations and consists of three levels of complexity. On the first level, we assess the uncertainty due to individual uncertainty sources. On the second level, we quantify the total uncertainty of design hydrographs for gauged catchments and the total uncertainty of regionalizing them to ungauged catchments but independently from the construction uncertainty. On the third level, we assess the coupled uncertainty of synthetic design hydrographs in ungauged catchments, jointly considering construction and regionalization uncertainty. We find that the most important sources of uncertainty in design hydrograph construction are the record length and the choice of the flood sampling strategy. The total uncertainty of design hydrographs in ungauged catchments depends on the catchment properties and is not negligible in our case.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Mathematics
07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Water Science and Technology
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:20 Mar 2018 15:03
Last Modified:16 Aug 2021 12:11
Publisher:American Geophysical Union
ISSN:0043-1397
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/2017WR021129

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