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

  30 Jul 2020

30 Jul 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Targets-specified grids-tailored sub-model approach for fast large-scale high-resolution 2D urban flood modelling

Guohan Zhao1, Thomas Balstrøm1, Ole Mark2, and Marina B. Jensen1 Guohan Zhao et al.
  • 1Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
  • 2DHI, Agern Allé 5, DK-2970 Hørsholm, Denmark

Abstract. The accuracy of two-dimensional urban flood models (2D models) is improved when high-resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) is used, but the entailed high spatial discretisation results in excessive computational expenses, thus prohibiting the use of 2D models in real-time forecasting at a large scale. This paper presents a sub-model approach to tailoring high-resolution 2D model grids according to specified targets, and thus such tailor-made sub-model yields fast processing without significant loss of accuracy. Among the numerous sinks detected from full-basin high-resolution DEMs, the computationally important ones are determined using a proposed Volume Ratio Sink Screening method. Also, the drainage basin is discretised into a collection of sub-impact zones according to those sinks' spatial configuration. When adding full-basin distributed static rainfall, the drainage basin's flow conditions are modelled as a 1D static flow by using a fast-inundation spreading algorithm. Next, sub-impact zones relevant to the targets' local inundation process can be identified by tracing the 1D flow continuity, and thus suggest the critical computational cells from the high-resolution model grids on the basis of the spatial intersection. In MIKE FLOOD's 2D simulations, those screened cells configure the reduced computational domains as well as the optimised boundary conditions, which ultimately enables the fast 2D prediction in the tailor-made sub-model. To validate the method, model experiments were designed to test the impact of the reduced computational domains and the optimised boundary conditions separately. Further, the general applicability and the robustness of the sub-model approach were evaluated by targeting at four focus areas representing different catchment terrain morphologies as well as different rainfall return periods of 1–100 years. The sub-model approach resulted in a 45–553 times faster processing with a 99 % reduction in the number of computational cells for all four cases; the predicted flood extents, depths and flow velocities showed only marginal discrepancies with Root Mean Square Errors (RMSE) below 1.5 cm. As such, this approach reduces the 2D models' computing expenses significantly, thus paving the way for large-scale high-resolution 2D real-time forecasting.

Guohan Zhao et al.

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Guohan Zhao et al.

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Latest update: 12 Aug 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This research has developed a method for rapid 2D predictions of urban floods, giving promise of future flood forecasting models operating at large scales making use of high-resolution terrain data. The method is based on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and identifies the part of the drainage basin that may cause flooding of a target object (e.g. a city or buildings) thus excluding any irrelevant areas. The method obtains accurate predictions with significant fast computing speeds.
This research has developed a method for rapid 2D predictions of urban floods, giving promise of...