Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-531
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-531

  23 Nov 2021

23 Nov 2021

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

The relative importance of antecedent soil moisture and precipitation in flood generation in the middle and lower Yangtze River basin

Sheng Ye1, Jin Wang1, Qihua Ran2, Xiuxiu Chen1, and Lin Liu1 Sheng Ye et al.
  • 1Institute of Hydrology and Water Resources, School of Civil Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China

Abstract. Floods have caused severe environmental and social economic losses worldwide in human history, and are projected to exacerbate due to climate change. Many floods are caused by heavy rainfall with highly saturated soil, however, the relative importance of rainfall and antecedent soil moisture and how it changes from place to place has not been fully understood. Here we examined annual floods from more than 200 hydrological stations in the middle and lower Yangtze River basin. Our results indicate that the dominant factor of flood generation shifts from rainfall to antecedent soil moisture with the increase of watershed area. The ratio of the relative importance of antecedent soil moisture and daily rainfall (SPR) is positively correlated with topographic wetness index and has a negative correlation with the magnitude of annual floods. This linkage between watershed characteristics that are easy to measure and the dominant flood generation mechanism provides a quantitative method for flood control and early warnings in ungauged watersheds in the middle and lower Yangtze River basin.

Sheng Ye et al.

Status: open (until 18 Jan 2022)

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Sheng Ye et al.

Sheng Ye et al.

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Short summary
This study aims to further evaluate the relative importance of antecedent soil moisture and rainfall on floods generation and the controlling factors. The relative importance of antecedent soil moisture and daily rainfall present significant correlation with drainage area: the larger the watershed is, the more essential antecedent soil saturation rate is in flood generation, the less important daily rainfall is.