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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-484
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-484
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Technical note 23 Oct 2018

Technical note | 23 Oct 2018

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

Laboratory modelling of urban flooding: strengths and challenges of distorted scale models

Xuefang Li1, Sébastien Erpicum1, Martin Bruwier1, Emmanuel Mignot2, Pascal Finaud-Guyot3, Pierre Archambeau1, Michel Pirotton1, and Benjamin Dewals1 Xuefang Li et al.
  • 1Hydraulics in Environmental and Civil Engineering (HECE), University of Liège (ULiège), Liège, 4000, Belgium
  • 2LMFA, CNRS-Université de Lyon, INSA de Lyon, Lyon, 69100, France
  • 3ICube laboratory (UMR 7357), Fluid mechanics team, ENGEES, Strasbourg, France

Abstract. Laboratory experiments are a viable approach to improve process-understanding and generate data for the validation of computational models. However, laboratory scale models of urban flooding are often distorted, i.e. different scale factors are used in the horizontal and vertical directions. This may result in artefacts when transposing the laboratory observations to the prototype scale. The magnitude of such artefacts was not studied in the past for the specific case of urban flooding. Here, we present a preliminary assessment of these artefacts based on the reanalysis of two recent experimental datasets related to flooding of a group of buildings and of an entire urban district, respectively. The results reveal that, in the tested configurations, the influence of model distortion on the upscaled values of water depths and discharges are both of the order of 10%. This is comparable to other sources of uncertainties, such as on hydrological data.

Xuefang Li et al.
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Latest update: 19 Nov 2018
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Short summary
With growing of urban flood risk worldwide, flood risk management tools need to be validated against reference data. Field and remote-sensing observations provide valuable data on inundation extent and depth; but virtually no information on flow velocity. Laboratory scale models have the potential to deliver complementary data provided that the model scaling is performed carefully. In this paper, we re-analyse existing laboratory data to discuss challenges related to the scaling of urban flood.
With growing of urban flood risk worldwide, flood risk management tools need to be validated...
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