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A continuous modelling approach for design flood estimation on sub-daily time scale

Winter, B., Schneeberger, K., Dung, N.V., Huttenlau, M., Achleitner, S., Stötter, J., Merz, B., Vorogushyn, S.
Hydrological sciences journal 2019 v.64 no.5 pp. 539-554
climate models, hydrologic models, risk assessment, runoff, storms, watersheds, Austria
Design flood estimation is an essential part of flood risk assessment. Commonly applied are flood frequency analyses and design storm approaches, while the derived flood frequency using continuous simulation has been getting more attention recently. In this study, a continuous hydrological modelling approach on an hourly time scale, driven by a multi-site weather generator in combination with a -nearest neighbour resampling procedure, based on the method of fragments, is applied. The derived 100-year flood estimates in 16 catchments in Vorarlberg (Austria) are compared to (a) the flood frequency analysis based on observed discharges, and (b) a design storm approach. Besides the peak flows, the corresponding runoff volumes are analysed. The spatial dependence structure of the synthetically generated flood peaks is validated against observations. It can be demonstrated that the continuous modelling approach can achieve plausible results and shows a large variability in runoff volume across the flood events.