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Understanding the role of initial soil moisture and precipitation magnitude in flood forecast using a hydrometeorological modelling system

September 27, 2022

We adapted the WRF-Hydro modelling system to Hurricane Florence (2018) and performed a series of diagnostic experiments to assess the influence of initial soil moisture and precipitation magnitude on flood simulation over the Cape Fear River basin in the United States. Model results suggest that: (1) The modulation effect of initial soil moisture on the flood peak is non-linear and weakens as precipitation magnitude increases. There is a threshold value of the soil saturation, below and above which the sensitivity of flood peak to the soil moisture differentiates substantially; (2) For model spin-up, streamflow needs longer time to reach the ‘practical’ equilibrium (10%) than the soil moisture and latent heat flux. The model uncertainty from spin-up can propagate through the hydrometeorological modelling chain and get amplified into the flood peak; (3) For ensemble flood modelling with a hydrometeorological system, modelling uncertainty is dominated by the precipitation forecast. Spin-up induced uncertainty can be minimized once the model reaches the ‘practical’ equilibrium.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Understanding the role of initial soil moisture and precipitation magnitude in flood forecast using a hydrometeorological modelling system
DOI 10.1002/hyp.14710
Authors Dongxiao Yin, George Xue, Daoyang Bao, Arezoo RafieeiNasab, Yongjie Huang, Mirce Morales, John C. Warner
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Hydrological Processes
Index ID 70238019
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center