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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-214
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-214
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  01 Jul 2020

01 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Possibilistic response surfaces combining fuzzy targets and hydro-climatic uncertainty in flood vulnerability assessment

Thibaut Lachaut and Amaury Tilmant Thibaut Lachaut and Amaury Tilmant
  • Laval University, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada

Abstract. Several alternatives have been proposed to shift the paradigms of water management under uncertainty from predictive to decision-centric. An often mentioned tool is the stress-test response surface; mapping system performance to a large sample of future hydro-climatic conditions. Dividing this exposure space between success and failure requires clear performance targets. In practice, however, stakeholders and decision-makers may be confronted with ambiguous objectives for which there are no clearly-defined (crisp) performance thresholds. Furthermore, response surfaces can be non-deterministic, as they do not fully capture all possible sources of hydro-climatic uncertainty. The challenge is thus to combine two different types of uncertainty: the irreducible uncertainty of the response itself relative to the variables that describe change, and the fuzziness of the performance target. We propose possibilistic surfaces to assess flood vulnerability with fuzzy performance thresholds. Three approaches are tested and compared on a un-gridded sample of the exposure space: (i) an aggregation of logistic regressions based on α-cuts combines the uncertainty of the response itself and the ambiguity of the target within a single possibility measure; (ii) an alternative approximates the response with a fuzzy analytical surface; and (iii) a convex delineation expresses the largest range of failure specific to a given management rule without probabilistic assumptions. To illustrate the proposed approaches, we use the flood-prone reservoir system of the Upper Saint-François River Basin in Canada as a case study. This study shows that ambiguity can be effectively be considered when generating a response surface and suggests how further research could build a possibilistic framework for hydro-climatic uncertainty.

Thibaut Lachaut and Amaury Tilmant

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Thibaut Lachaut and Amaury Tilmant

Thibaut Lachaut and Amaury Tilmant

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Short summary
Response surfaces are increasingly used to identify the hydro-climatic conditions leading to water resources system's failure. Partitioning the surface usually requires performance thresholds that are not necessarily crisp. We propose a methodology that combines the inherent uncertainty of response surfaces with the ambiguity of performance thresholds. The proposed methodology is illustrated with a multireservoir system in Canada for which some performance thresholds are imprecise.
Response surfaces are increasingly used to identify the hydro-climatic conditions leading to...
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