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Journal Articles Atmospheric Research Year : 2013

Analysis of flash flood-triggering rainfall for a process-oriented hydrological model


We propose an extended study of recent flood-triggering storms and resulting hydrological responses for catchments in the Pyrenean foothills up to the Aude region. For hydrometeorological sciences, it appears relevant to characterize flash floods and the storm that triggered them over various temporal and spatial scales. There are very few studies of extreme storm-caused floods in the literature covering the Mediterranean and highlighting, for example, the quickness and seasonality of this natural phenomenon. The present analysis is based on statistics that clarify the dependence between the spatial and temporal distributions of rainfall at catchment scale, catchment morphology and runoff response. Given the specific space and time scales of rainfall cell development, we show that the combined use of radar and a rain gauge network appears pertinent. Rainfall depth and intensity are found to be lower for catchments in the Pyrenean foothills than for the nearby Corbières or Montagne Noire regions. We highlight various hydrological behaviours and show that an increase in initial soil saturation tends to foster quicker catchment flood response times, of around 3 to 10 h. The hydrometeorological data set characterized in this paper constitutes a wealth of information to constrain a physics-based distributed model for regionalization purposes in the case of flash floods. Moreover, the use of diagnostic indices for rainfall distribution over catchment drainage networks highlights a unimodal trend in spatial temporal storm distributions for the entire flood dataset. Finally, it appears that floods in mountainous Pyrenean catchments are generally triggered by rainfall near the catchment outlet, where the topography is lower.
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hal-00907652 , version 1 (21-11-2013)



Pierre-André Garambois, Kévin Larnier, Hélène Roux, David Labat, Denis Dartus. Analysis of flash flood-triggering rainfall for a process-oriented hydrological model. Atmospheric Research, 2013, vol. 137, pp. 14-24. ⟨10.1016/j.atmosres.2013.09.016⟩. ⟨hal-00907652⟩
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