Main content area

Empirical assessment of flood wave celerity–discharge relationships at local and reach scales

Meyer, Aline, Fleischmann, Ayan Santos, Collischonn, Walter, Paiva, Rodrigo, Jardim, Pedro
Hydrological sciences journal 2018 v.63 no.15-16 pp. 2035-2047
hydrologic models, river flow, rivers
An accurate comprehension of celerity (flood wave speed) dynamics is a key step for understanding flood wave propagation in rivers. We present the results of empirically estimated celerity values in 12 Brazilian rivers, and analyse the behaviour of celerity–discharge relationships (CxQ). Celerity was estimated with a reach-scale (RS) method, based on the peak travel time between stations; and with a local-scale (LS) method, based on the derivative of discharge–cross-section area relationships surveyed at gauging stations. The results indicate that the magnitudes of celerity values obtained by the methods are reasonably comparable, and can rarely be considered constant, varying with river discharge. Three reaches presented differing CxQ relationships at local and reach scales, which suggests that in situ cross-sections at gauging stations should not be extrapolated as representative of the whole reach for flood routing studies, and that CxQ relationship assessments might provide relevant insights for hydrological modelling.