Defining high-flow seasons using temporal streamflow patterns from a global model
- 1University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
- 2Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Abstract. Globally, flood catastrophes lead all natural hazards in terms of impacts on society, causing billions of dollars of damages annually. Here, a novel approach to defining high-flow seasons (3-month) globally is presented by identifying temporal patterns of streamflow. The main high-flow season is identified using a volume-based threshold technique and the PCR-GLOBWB model. In comparison with observations, 40 % (50 %) of locations at a station (sub-basin) scale have identical peak months and 81 % (89 %) are within 1 month, indicating fair agreement between modeled and observed high-flow seasons. Minor high-flow seasons are also defined for bi-modal flow regimes. Identified major and minor high-flow seasons together are found to well represent actual flood records from the Dartmouth Flood Observatory, further substantiating the model's ability to reproduce the appropriate high-flow season. These high-spatial-resolution high-flow seasons and associated performance metrics allow for an improved understanding of temporal characterization of streamflow and flood potential, causation, and management. This is especially attractive for regions with limited observations and/or little capacity to develop early warning flood systems.