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Long-term changes in flood event patterns due to changes in hydrological distribution parameters in a rural–urban catchment, Shikoku, Japan

Mouri, Goro, Kanae, Shinjiro, Oki, Taikan
Atmospheric research 2011 v.101 no.1-2 pp. 164-177
climate change, drought, floods, forests, hydrograph, infrastructure, land use, models, rain, relative humidity, river water, rivers, runoff, temperature, watersheds, Japan
This article describes the principal control parameters of flood events and precipitation and the relationships between corresponding hydrologic and climatologic parameters. The long-term generation of runoff and associated processes is important in understanding floods and droughts under changes in climate and land use. This study presents detailed analyses of flood events in a coastal amphitheatre catchment with a total area of 445km² in western Japan, followed by analyses of flood events in both urban and forest areas. Using long-term (1962 to 2002) hydrological and climatological data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Japan, the contributions of precipitation, river discharge, temperature, and relative humidity to flood events were analysed. Flood events could be divided into three types with respect to hydrologic and climatologic principal control parameters: the long-term tendency; medium-term changes as revealed by hydrographs and hyetographs of high-intensity events such as the relative precipitation, river discharge, and temperature; and large events, as shown by the flow–duration curve, with each cluster having particular characteristics. River discharge showed a decreasing tendency of flow quantity during small rainfall events of less than 100mm/event from the 1980s to the present. An approximately 7% decrease from 44.8 to 37.3% occurred in the percentage of river water supplied by precipitation in the years after the 1980s. For the medium-term changes, no marked change occurred in the flow quantity of the peak point over time in event hydrographs. However, flow quantities before and after the peak tended to decrease by 1 to 2m³/s after the 1980s. Theoretical considerations with regard to the influence of hydrologic and climatologic parameters on flood discharge are discussed and examined in terms of observational data. These findings provide a sound foundation for use in hydrological catchment modelling.