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Hydraulic response in flooded stream networks
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Hydraulic Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9202-3159
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Hydraulic Engineering.
2015 (English)In: Water resources research, ISSN 0043-1397, E-ISSN 1944-7973, Vol. 51, no 1, 213-240 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Average water travel times through a stream network were determined as a function of stage (discharge) and stream network properties. Contrary to most previous studies on the topic, the present work allowed for streamflow velocities to vary spatially (for most of the analyses) as well as temporally. The results show that different stream network mechanisms and properties interact in a complex and stage-dependent manner, implying that the relative importance of the different hydraulic properties varies in space and over time. Theoretical reasoning, based on the central temporal moments derived from the kinematic-diffusive wave equation in a semi-2-D formulation including the effects of flooded cross sections, shows that the hydraulic properties in contrast to the geomorphological properties will become increasingly important as the discharge increases, stressing the importance of accurately describing the hydraulic mechanisms within stream networks. Using the physically based, stage-dependent response function as a parameterization basis for the streamflow routing routine (a linear reservoir) of a hydrological model, discharge predictions were shown to improve in two Swedish catchments, compared with a conventional, statistically based parameterization scheme. Predictions improved for a wide range of modeled scenarios, for the entire discharge series as well as for peak flow conditions. The foremost novelty of the study lies in that the physically based response function for a streamflow routing routine has successfully been determined independent of calibration, i.e., entirely through process-based hydraulic stream network modeling.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 51, no 1, 213-240 p.
Keyword [en]
stage-dependency, physically based parameterization, river routing, stream network, geomorphologic dispersion, hydraulics
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-162977DOI: 10.1002/2014WR016279ISI: 000349889800013ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84923262181OAI: diva2:799607

QC 20150331

Available from: 2015-03-31 Created: 2015-03-26 Last updated: 2015-09-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Peakflow response of stream networks: implications of physical descriptions of streams and temporal change
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Peakflow response of stream networks: implications of physical descriptions of streams and temporal change
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Through distributed stream network routing, it has quantitatively been shown that the relationship between flow travel time and discharge varies strongly nonlinearly with stream stage and with catchment-specific properties.

Physically derived distributions of water travel times through a stream network were successfully used to parameterise the streamflow response function of a compartmental hydrological model. Predictions were found to improve compared to conventional statistically based parameterisation schemes, for most of the modelled scenarios, particularly for peakflow conditions.

A Fourier spectral analysis of 55-110 years of daily discharge time series from 79 unregulated catchments in Sweden revealed that the discharge power spectral slope has gradually increased over time, with significant increases for 58 catchments. The results indicated that the catchment scaling function power spectrum had steepened in most of the catchments for which historical precipitation series were available. These results suggest that (local) land-use changes within the catchments may affect the discharge power spectra more significantly than changes in precipitation (climate change).

A case study from an agriculturally intense catchment using historical (from the 1880s) and modern stream network maps revealed that the average stream network flow distance as well as average water levels were substantially diminished over the past century, while average bottom slopes increased. The study verifies the hypothesis that anthropogenic changes (determined through scenario modelling using a 1D distributed routing model) of stream network properties can have a substantial influence on the travel times through the stream networks and thus on the discharge hydrographs.

The findings stress the need for a more hydrodynamically based approach to adequately describe the variation of streamflow response, especially for predictions of higher discharges. An increased physical basis of response functions can be beneficial in improving discharge predictions during conditions in which conventional parameterisation based on historical flow patterns may not be possible - for example, for extreme peak flows and during periods of nonstationary conditions, such as during periods of climate and/or land use change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. x, 74 p.
TRITA-HYD, 2015:2
Streamflow routing, peakflow predictions, parameterization, hydrological response, stage-dependency, flooded cross-sections, stream networks, backwater effects, temporal change, land use change
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
Civil and Architectural Engineering
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-172939 (URN)978-91-7595-672-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-09-29, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

QC 20150903

Available from: 2015-09-03 Created: 2015-09-02 Last updated: 2015-09-28Bibliographically approved

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