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

Research article 05 Nov 2018

Research article | 05 Nov 2018

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

Contrasting rainfall-runoff characteristics of floods in Desert and Mediterranean basins

Davide Zoccatelli1, Francesco Marra1, Moshe Armon1, Yair Rinat1, James A. Smith2, and Efrat Morin1 Davide Zoccatelli et al.
  • 1Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
  • 2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Abstract. Catchment scale hydrological studies on drylands are lacking because of the scarcity of consistent data: observations are often available at the plot scale, but their relevance for the catchment scale remains unclear. A database of 24 years of stream gauge discharge and homogeneous high-resolution radar data over the eastern Mediterranean allows to describe the properties of moderate floods over catchments spanning from Desert to Mediterranean climates. Comparing two climatic regions, Desert and Mediterranean, we are able to better identify specific rainfall-runoff properties. Despite the large differences in rainfall forcing between the two regions, the resulting unit peak discharges and runoff coefficients are comparable. In Mediterranean areas rain depth and antecedent conditions are the most important properties to shape flood response. In Deserts, instead, storm core properties display a strong correlation with unit peak discharge and, to a less extent, with runoff coefficient. In this region, an inverse correlation with mean catchment annual precipitation suggests also a strong influence of local surface properties. Preliminary analyses suggest that floods in catchments with wet headwater and dry lower section are more similar to desert catchments, with a strong influence of storm core properties on runoff generation.

Davide Zoccatelli et al.
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Davide Zoccatelli et al.
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Short summary
This study presents a comparison of flood properties over multiple Mediterranean and Desert catchments. While in Mediterranean areas floods are related with rainfall amount, in Deserts we observed a strong connection with the characteristics of the more intense part of storms. Because of the different mechanisms involved, despite having significantly shorter and more localized storms, Deserts are able to produce floods with magnitude comparable to Mediterranean areas.
This study presents a comparison of flood properties over multiple Mediterranean and Desert...