Reducing uncertainty with flood frequency analysis: the contribution of palaeoflood and historical flood information

Lam, Daryl and Thompson, Chris and Croke, Jacky and Sharma, Ashneel and Macklin, Mark (2017) Reducing uncertainty with flood frequency analysis: the contribution of palaeoflood and historical flood information. Water Resources Research, 53 (3). pp. 2312-2327. ISSN 1944-7973

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Abstract

Using a combination of stream gauge, historical, and paleoflood records to extend extreme flood records has proven to be useful in improving flood frequency analysis (FFA). The approach has typically been applied in localities with long historical records and/or suitable river settings for paleoflood reconstruction from slack‐water deposits (SWDs). However, many regions around the world have neither extensive historical information nor bedrock gorges suitable for SWDs preservation and paleoflood reconstruction. This study from subtropical Australia demonstrates that confined, semialluvial channels such as macrochannels provide relatively stable boundaries over the 1000–2000 year time period and the preserved SWDs enabled paleoflood reconstruction and their incorporation into FFA. FFA for three sites in subtropical Australia with the integration of historical and paleoflood data using Bayesian Inference methods showed a significant reduction in uncertainty associated with the estimated discharge of a flood quantile. Uncertainty associated with estimated discharge for the 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) flood is reduced by more than 50%. In addition, sensitivity analysis of possible within‐channel boundary changes shows that FFA is not significantly affected by any associated changes in channel capacity. Therefore, a greater range of channel types may be used for reliable paleoflood reconstruction by evaluating the stability of inset alluvial units, thereby increasing the quantity of temporal data available for FFA. The reduction in uncertainty, particularly in the prediction of the ≤1% AEP design flood, will improve flood risk planning and management in regions with limited temporal flood data.

Keywords:flood frequency analysis, palaeoflood hydrology, extreme flood, stable boundary channels, historical flood information, sensitivity analysis
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F840 Physical Geography
F Physical Sciences > F810 Environmental Geography
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
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ID Code:31625
Deposited On:17 Apr 2018 12:28

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