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Identifying runoff routing parameters for operational flood forecasting in small to medium sized catchments

Reszler, Christian, Blöschl, Günter, Komma, Jürgen
Hydrological sciences journal 2008 v.53 no.1 pp. 112-129
aerial photography, hydrologic models, rain, runoff, surveys, topography, watersheds, Austria
This paper proposes a framework for identifying the parameters of a lumped routing model in small to medium sized catchments where lateral inflows can be large but poorly defined. In a first step, a priori estimates of the parameters are made based on topography, aerial photographs, flood marks and field surveys. In a second step, runoff data are analysed of reservoir release events and convective events where no rainfall in the direct catchments occurred. In a third step the routing model is calibrated to the results of hydrodynamic models for scenarios of different magnitudes. In a fourth step, these pieces of information are combined, allowing for soft expert judgement to be incorporated. In a fifth step, the routing parameters are fine tuned to observed flood events where lateral inflows are estimated by a rainfall—runoff model. The framework is illustrated by the Kamp flood forecasting system in Austria that has been in operational use since 2006.