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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 29 Mar 2018

Research article | 29 Mar 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Inundation mapping based on reach-scale effective geometry

Cédric Rebolho1, Vazken Andréassian1, and Nicolas Le Moine2 Cédric Rebolho et al.
  • 1Irstea, UR HYCAR, 1 Rue Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, 92160 Antony, France
  • 2Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, CNRS, EPHE, UMR 7619 Metis, 4 Place Jussieu, 75005 Paris, France

Abstract. The production of spatially accurate representations of potential inundation is often limited by the lack of available data as well as model complexity. We present in this paper a new approach for rapid inundation mapping, MHYST, which is well adapted for data-scarce areas; it is based on hydraulic geometry concepts for channels, and on DEM data for floodplains. Its originality lies in the fact that it does not work at the cross section scale but computes effective geometrical properties to describe the reach scale. Combining reach-scale geometrical properties with 1-D steady-state flow equations, MHYST computes a topographically coherent relation between the Height Above Nearest Drainage and streamflow. This relation can then be used on a past or future event and produce inundation maps. The MHYST approach is tested here on an extreme flood event that occurred in France in May–June 2016. The results indicate that it has a tendency to slightly underestimate inundation extents, although efficiency criteria values are clearly encouraging. The spatial distribution of model performance is discussed and it shows that the model can perform very well on most reaches, but has difficulties modelling the more complex, urbanised reaches. MHYST should not be seen as a rival to detailed inundation studies, but as a first approximation able to rapidly provide inundation maps in data-scarce areas.

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Cédric Rebolho et al.
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Cédric Rebolho et al.
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Short summary
Inundation models are useful for hazard management and prevention. They are traditionally based on hydraulic partial differential equations (with satisfying results but large data and computational requirements). This study presents a simplified approach combining reach-scale geometric properties with steady uniform flow equations. The model shows promising results overall, although difficulties subsist in the most complex urbanised reaches.
Inundation models are useful for hazard management and prevention. They are traditionally based...