Reconciling Streamflow Uncertainty Estimation and River Bed Morphology Dynamics. Insights from a Probabilistic Assessment of Streamflow Uncertainties Using a Reliability Diagram
Abstract:Streamflow uncertainty estimation has recently received a large attention in the literature. A dynamic rating curve assessment method has been introduced (Morlot et al., 2014). This dynamic method allows to compute a rating curve for each gauging and a continuous streamflow time-series, while calculating streamflow uncertainties. Streamflow uncertainty takes into account many sources of uncertainty (water level, rating curve interpolation and extrapolation, gauging aging, etc.) and produces an estimated distribution of streamflow for each days.
In order to caracterise streamflow uncertainty, a probabilistic framework has been applied on a large sample of hydrometric stations of the Division Technique Générale (DTG) of Électricité de France (EDF) hydrometric network (>250 stations) in France. A reliability diagram (Wilks, 1995) has been constructed for some stations, based on the streamflow distribution estimated for a given day and compared to a real streamflow observation estimated via a gauging. To build a reliability diagram, we computed the probability of an observed streamflow (gauging), given the streamflow distribution. Then, the reliability diagram allows to check that the distribution of probabilities of non-exceedance of the gaugings follows a uniform law (i.e., quantiles should be equipropables). Given the shape of the reliability diagram, the probabilistic calibration is caracterised (underdispersion, overdispersion, bias) (Thyer et al., 2009).
In this paper, we present case studies where reliability diagrams have different statistical properties for different periods. Compared to our knowledge of river bed morphology dynamic of these hydrometric stations, we show how reliability diagram gives us invaluable information on river bed movements, like a continuous digging or backfilling of the hydraulic control due to erosion or sedimentation processes. Hence, the careful analysis of reliability diagrams allows to reconcile statistics and long-term river bed morphology processes. This knowledge improves our real-time management of hydrometric stations, given a better caracterisation of erosion/sedimentation processes and the stability of hydrometric station hydraulic control.