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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 19, issue 11
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 4689–4705, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-19-4689-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 4689–4705, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-19-4689-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 27 Nov 2015

Research article | 27 Nov 2015

Defining high-flow seasons using temporal streamflow patterns from a global model

D. Lee1, P. Ward2, and P. Block1 D. Lee et al.
  • 1University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
  • 2Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Abstract. Globally, flood catastrophes lead all natural hazards in terms of impacts on society, causing billions of dollars of damages annually. Here, a novel approach to defining high-flow seasons (3-month) globally is presented by identifying temporal patterns of streamflow. The main high-flow season is identified using a volume-based threshold technique and the PCR-GLOBWB model. In comparison with observations, 40 % (50 %) of locations at a station (sub-basin) scale have identical peak months and 81 % (89 %) are within 1 month, indicating fair agreement between modeled and observed high-flow seasons. Minor high-flow seasons are also defined for bi-modal flow regimes. Identified major and minor high-flow seasons together are found to well represent actual flood records from the Dartmouth Flood Observatory, further substantiating the model's ability to reproduce the appropriate high-flow season. These high-spatial-resolution high-flow seasons and associated performance metrics allow for an improved understanding of temporal characterization of streamflow and flood potential, causation, and management. This is especially attractive for regions with limited observations and/or little capacity to develop early warning flood systems.

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This paper presents a global approach to defining high-flow seasons by identifying temporal patterns of streamflow. Simulations of streamflow from the PCR-GLOBWB model are evaluated to define dominant and minor high-flow seasons globally, and verified with GRDC observations and flood records from Dartmouth Flood Observatory.
This paper presents a global approach to defining high-flow seasons by identifying temporal...
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