Advances in flood forecasting using radar rainfalls and time-series analysis
Tsang, Fan Cheong
PublisherUniversity of Lancaster
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This thesis reports the use of a time-series analysis approach to study the catchment hydrological system of the River Ribble. Rain gauge records, radar rainfall estimates and flow data are used in the analysis. The preliminary study consists of the flow forecasting at Reedyford, Pendle Water (82 km2). Flow forecasts generated from the rain gauge records are better than the radar rainfall estimates over this small catchment. However, the catchment response to rainfall is quick and no clear advantages in extending the lead-time of the forecast can be introduced by using an artificial time delayed rainfall input. A non-linear rainfall-flow relationship has been studied using the rain gauge rainfall and flow records at the River Hodder catchment (261 km2). A calibration scheme is used to identify the non-linear function of the catchment as well as the rainfall-flow system model. Although a better time-invariant system model can be identified, the non-linear rainfall-flow process cannot be fully explained by a power law function of effective rainfall. Assuming the dynamic, nonlinear system characteristics of the catchment can be reflected by a time-varying model gain parameter, relationships between the parameter and the flow, and between the parameter and the rainfall can be evaluated. These relationships have been used to improve the flow forecast during storm events. The results indicate, however, that the approach failed to improve the flow forecast near the peak flow condition. Radar data have been incorporated to forecast the flow at Jumbles Rock (1053 km2) and Samlesbury (1140 km2), River Ribble. The radar data calibrated by the Lancaster University Adaptive Radar Calibration System appears to produce better flow forecasts than the standard radar data product calibrated by the Meteorological Office. The proposed flow forecasting scheme generates better forecasts than the current system operated by the National Rivers Authority, North West Region.