Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-466
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-466

  17 Sep 2021

17 Sep 2021

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

Flood frequency analysis using mean daily flows vs. instantaneous peak flows

Anne Bartens and Uwe Haberlandt Anne Bartens and Uwe Haberlandt
  • Institute of Hydrology and Water Resources Management, Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany

Abstract. In many cases flood frequency analysis needs to be carried out on mean daily flow (MDF) series without any available information on the instantaneous peak flow (IPF). We analyze the error of using MDFs instead of IPFs for flood quantile estimation on a German dataset and assess spatial patterns and factors that influence the deviation of MDF floods from their IPF counterparts. The main dependence could be found for catchment area but also gauge elevation appeared to have some influence. Based on the findings we propose simple linear models to correct both MDF flood peaks of individual flood events and overall MDF flood statistics. Key predictor in the models is the event-based ratio of flood peak and flood volume obtained directly from the daily flow records. This correction approach requires a minimum of data input, is easily applied, valid for the entire study area and successfully estimates IPF peaks and flood statistics. The models perform particularly well in smaller catchments, where other IPF estimation methods fall short. Still, the limit of the approach is reached for catchment sizes below 100 km2, where the hydrograph information from the daily series is no longer capable of approximating instantaneous flood dynamics.

Anne Bartens and Uwe Haberlandt

Status: open (until 12 Nov 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-466', Anonymous Referee #1, 15 Oct 2021 reply

Anne Bartens and Uwe Haberlandt

Anne Bartens and Uwe Haberlandt

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Short summary
River flow data is often provided as mean daily flow (MDF), in which a lot of information is lost about the actual maximum flow or instantaneous peak flow (IPF) within a day. We investigate the error of using MDFs instead of IPFs and identify means to predict IPFs when only MDF data is available. We find that the average ratio of daily flood peaks and volumes is a good predictor, which is easily and universally applicable and requires a minimum amount of data.