Articles | Volume 373
12 May 2016
 | 12 May 2016

A framework of integrated hydrological and hydrodynamic models using synthetic rainfall for flash flood hazard mapping of ungauged catchments in tropical zones

Worapong Lohpaisankrit, Günter Meon, and Tawatchai Tingsanchali

Abstract. Flash flood hazard maps provide a scientific support to mitigate flash flood risk. The present study develops a practical framework with the help of integrated hydrological and hydrodynamic modelling in order to estimate the potential flash floods. We selected a small pilot catchment which has already suffered from flash floods in the past. This catchment is located in the Nan River basin, northern Thailand. Reliable meteorological and hydrometric data are missing in the catchment. Consequently, the entire upper basin of the main river was modelled with the help of the hydrological modelling system PANTA RHEI. In this basin, three monitoring stations are located along the main river. PANTA RHEI was calibrated and validated with the extreme flood events in June 2011 and July 2008, respectively. The results show a good agreement with the observed discharge data. In order to create potential flash flood scenarios, synthetic rainfall series were derived from temporal rainfall patterns based on the radar-rainfall observation and different rainfall depths from regional rainfall frequency analysis. The temporal rainfall patterns were characterized by catchment-averaged rainfall series selected from 13 rainstorms in 2008 and 2011 within the region. For regional rainfall frequency analysis, the well-known L-moments approach and related criteria were used to examine extremely climatic homogeneity of the region. According to the L-moments approach, Generalized Pareto distribution was recognized as the regional frequency distribution. The synthetic rainfall series were fed into the PANTA RHEI model. The simulated results from PANTA RHEI were provided to a 2-D hydrodynamic model (MEADFLOW), and various simulations were performed. Results from the integrated modelling framework are used in the ongoing study to regionalize and map the spatial distribution of flash flood hazards with four levels of flood severities. As an overall outcome, the presented framework can be applied in areas with inadequate runoff records.

Short summary
In tropical regions, flash floods often occur on small ungauged catchments. The scarcity of reliable runoff data and high resolution rainfall data in both spatial and temporal scales is one of the challenges. Thus, intensive guidelines for mapping flash flood hazard in ungauged catchments are urgently needed. Regional frequency analysis can benefit from observed daily rainfall data which are normally available in many countries. Flash flood modelling is applied to delineate flood hazard maps.