Have applications of continuous rainfall-runoff simulation realized the vision for process-based flood frequency analysis?

Lamb, Rob and Faulkner, Duncan and Wass, Paul and Cameron, David (2016) Have applications of continuous rainfall-runoff simulation realized the vision for process-based flood frequency analysis? Hydrological Processes, 30 (14). 2463–2481. ISSN 0885-6087

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Keith Beven was amongst the first to propose and demonstrate a combination of conceptual rainfall–runoff modelling and stochastically generated rainfall data in what is known as the ‘continuous simulation’ approach for flood frequency analysis. The motivations included the potential to establish better links with physical processes and to avoid restrictive assumptions inherent in existing methods applied in design flood studies. Subsequently, attempts have been made to establish continuous simulation as a routine method for flood frequency analysis, particularly in the UK. The approach has not been adopted universally, but numerous studies have benefitted from applications of continuous simulation methods. This paper asks whether industry has yet realized the vision of the pioneering research by Beven and others. It reviews the generic methodology and illustrates applications of the original vision for a more physically realistic approach to flood frequency analysis through a set of practical case studies, highlighting why continuous simulation was useful and appropriate in each case. The case studies illustrate how continuous simulation has helped to offer users of flood frequency analysis more confidence about model results by avoiding (or exposing) bad assumptions relating to catchment heterogeneity, inappropriateness of assumptions made in (UK) industrystandard design event flood estimation methods, and the representation of engineered or natural dynamic controls on flood flows. By implementing the vision for physically realistic analysis of flood frequency through continuous simulation, each of these examples illustrates how more relevant and improved information was provided for flood risk decision-making than would have been possible using standard methods. They further demonstrate that integrating engineered infrastructure into flood frequency analysis and assessment of environmental change are also significant motivations for adopting the continuous simulation approach in practice

Item Type:
Journal Article
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Hydrological Processes
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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Lamb, R., Faulkner, D., Wass, P., and Cameron, D. (2016) Have applications of continuous rainfall–runoff simulation realized the vision for process-based flood frequency analysis?. Hydrol. Process., 30: 2463–2481. doi: 10.1002/hyp.10882 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hyp.10882/abstract This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
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18 Jul 2016 12:08
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 01:02