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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 12, issue 6
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 1353–1367, 2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 1353–1367, 2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  15 Dec 2008

15 Dec 2008

A space-time hybrid hourly rainfall model for derived flood frequency analysis

U. Haberlandt1, A.-D. Ebner von Eschenbach2, and I. Buchwald1 U. Haberlandt et al.
  • 1Institute of Water Resources Management, Hydrology and Agricultural Hydraulic Engineering, Leibniz University of Hannover, Hannover, Germany
  • 2Federal Institute of Hydrology, Koblenz, Germany

Abstract. For derived flood frequency analysis based on hydrological modelling long continuous precipitation time series with high temporal resolution are needed. Often, the observation network with recording rainfall gauges is poor, especially regarding the limited length of the available rainfall time series. Stochastic precipitation synthesis is a good alternative either to extend or to regionalise rainfall series to provide adequate input for long-term rainfall-runoff modelling with subsequent estimation of design floods. Here, a new two step procedure for stochastic synthesis of continuous hourly space-time rainfall is proposed and tested for the extension of short observed precipitation time series.

First, a single-site alternating renewal model is presented to simulate independent hourly precipitation time series for several locations. The alternating renewal model describes wet spell durations, dry spell durations and wet spell intensities using univariate frequency distributions separately for two seasons. The dependence between wet spell intensity and duration is accounted for by 2-copulas. For disaggregation of the wet spells into hourly intensities a predefined profile is used. In the second step a multi-site resampling procedure is applied on the synthetic point rainfall event series to reproduce the spatial dependence structure of rainfall. Resampling is carried out successively on all synthetic event series using simulated annealing with an objective function considering three bivariate spatial rainfall characteristics. In a case study synthetic precipitation is generated for some locations with short observation records in two mesoscale catchments of the Bode river basin located in northern Germany. The synthetic rainfall data are then applied for derived flood frequency analysis using the hydrological model HEC-HMS. The results show good performance in reproducing average and extreme rainfall characteristics as well as in reproducing observed flood frequencies. The presented model has the potential to be used for ungauged locations through regionalisation of the model parameters.

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