Advancing Satellite-Based Flood Prediction in Complex Terrain Using High-Resolution Numerical Weather Prediction

Friday, 18 December 2015: 10:35
309 (Moscone South)
Emmanouil N Anagnostou, Civil & Env Engineering, Storrs Mansfield, CT, United States, Efthymios Ioannis Nikolopoulos, ITC SA, Athens, Greece, Xinxuan Zhang, University of Connecticut, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Groton, CT, United States and Nikolaos S Bartsotas, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Floods constitute one of the most significant and frequent natural hazard in mountainous regions. Satellite-based precipitation products offer in many cases the only available source of QPE. However, satellite-based QPE over complex terrain suffer from significant bias that limits their applicability for hydrologic modeling. In this work we investigate the potential of a new correction procedure, which involves the use of high-resolution numerical weather prediction (NWP) model simulations to adjust satellite QPE. Adjustment is based on the pdf matching of satellite and NWP (used as reference) precipitation distribution. The impact of correction procedure on simulating the hydrologic response is examined for 15 storm events that generated floods over the mountainous Upper Adige region of Northern Italy. Atmospheric simulations were performed at 1-km resolution from a state-of-the-art atmospheric model (RAMS/ICLAMS). The proposed error correction procedure was then applied on the widely used TRMM 3B42 satellite precipitation product and the evaluation of the correction was based on independent in situ precipitation measurements from a dense rain gauge network (1 gauge / 70 km2) available in the study area. Satellite QPE, before and after correction, are used to simulate flood response using ARFFS (Adige River Flood Forecasting System), a semi-distributed hydrologic model, which is used for operational flood forecasting in the region. Results showed that bias in satellite QPE before correction was significant and had a tremendous impact on the simulation of flood peak, however the correction procedure was able to reduce bias in QPE and therefore improve considerably the simulated flood hydrograph.