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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 22, issue 1
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 331-350, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-331-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 331-350, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-331-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 15 Jan 2018

Research article | 15 Jan 2018

Scale effect challenges in urban hydrology highlighted with a distributed hydrological model

Abdellah Ichiba1,2, Auguste Gires1, Ioulia Tchiguirinskaia1, Daniel Schertzer1, Philippe Bompard2, and Marie-Claire Ten Veldhuis3 Abdellah Ichiba et al.
  • 1HMCO, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, Université Paris-Est, 6–8 Av Blaise Pascal Cité Descartes, Marne-la-Vallée, 77455 Cx2, France
  • 2Conseil Départemental du Val-de-Marne, Direction des Services de l'Environnement et de l'Assainissement (DSEA), Bonneuil-sur-Marne, 94381, France
  • 3Department of Water Management, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5048, 2600 GA Delft, the Netherlands

Abstract. Hydrological models are extensively used in urban water management, development and evaluation of future scenarios and research activities. There is a growing interest in the development of fully distributed and grid-based models. However, some complex questions related to scale effects are not yet fully understood and still remain open issues in urban hydrology. In this paper we propose a two-step investigation framework to illustrate the extent of scale effects in urban hydrology. First, fractal tools are used to highlight the scale dependence observed within distributed data input into urban hydrological models. Then an intensive multi-scale modelling work is carried out to understand scale effects on hydrological model performance. Investigations are conducted using a fully distributed and physically based model, Multi-Hydro, developed at Ecole des Ponts ParisTech. The model is implemented at 17 spatial resolutions ranging from 100 to 5m. Results clearly exhibit scale effect challenges in urban hydrology modelling. The applicability of fractal concepts highlights the scale dependence observed within distributed data. Patterns of geophysical data change when the size of the observation pixel changes. The multi-scale modelling investigation confirms scale effects on hydrological model performance. Results are analysed over three ranges of scales identified in the fractal analysis and confirmed through modelling. This work also discusses some remaining issues in urban hydrology modelling related to the availability of high-quality data at high resolutions, and model numerical instabilities as well as the computation time requirements. The main findings of this paper enable a replacement of traditional methods of model calibration by innovative methods of model resolution alteration based on the spatial data variability and scaling of flows in urban hydrology.

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This paper proposes a two-step investigation to illustrate the extent of scale effects in urban hydrology. First, fractal tools are used to highlight the scale dependency observed within GIS data inputted in urban hydrological models. Then an intensive multi-scale modelling work was carried out to confirm effects on model performances. The model was implemented at 17 spatial resolutions ranging from 100 to 5 m. Results allow the understanding of scale challenges in hydrology modelling.
This paper proposes a two-step investigation to illustrate the extent of scale effects in urban...
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