The Significance of the Spatial Variability of Rainfall on the Numerical Simulation of Urban Floods

Laurent Guillaume Courty, Miguel Rico-Ramirez, Adrian Pedrozo-Acuña

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
299 Downloads (Pure)


The growth of urban population, combined with an increase of extreme events due to climate change call for a better understanding and representation of urban floods. The uncertainty in rainfall distribution is one of the most important factors that affects the watershed response to a given precipitation event. However, most of the investigations on this topic have considered theoretical scenarios, with little reference to case studies in the real world. This paper incorporates the use of spatially-variable precipitation data from a long-range radar in the simulation of the severe floods that impacted the city of Hull, U.K., in June 2007. This radar-based rainfall field is merged with rain gauge data using a Kriging with External Drift interpolation technique. The utility of this spatially-variable information is investigated through the comparison of computed flooded areas (uniform and radar) against those registered by public authorities. Both results show similar skills at reproducing the real event, but differences in the total precipitated volumes, water depths and flooded areas are illustrated. It is envisaged that in urban areas and with the advent of higher resolution radars, these differences will be more important and call for further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number207
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Early online date15 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

Structured keywords

  • Water and Environmental Engineering


  • floods
  • radar rainfall
  • kriging
  • computer modelling


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