Integrated mesoscale-hydrometeorological modelling for flood forecasting

  • Kathleen Kozyniak

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


In an effort to improve upon rainfall forecasts produced by simple storm advection methods (nowcasts) and to broach the gap between them and the forecasts of complex Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models, in terms of the spatial detail and length of lead-time each provides, the research presented explores the possibility of combining elements of each into a physically-based algorithm for rainfall forecasting. It is an algorithm that uses as its foundation the rainfall prediction model of Mark French and Witold Krajewski, developed in 1994. Their model was designed to take advantage of the high resolution rainfall observations and tracking abilities provided by weather radar and to achieve a rainfall forecast by augmenting extrapolation techniques with a representation of storm dynamics in the form of "rising parcel" theory. The new algorithm/model retains those features but incorporates NWP data to assist with forecasting, using it as a means to enable an informed choice of algorithm pathways and, more specifically, to identify the ingredients of precipitation, namely ascending air of high moisture content. A case study application of the new rainfall forecasting model to storms in Northern England shows its performance, at a lead-time of one hour, compares favourably with respect to extrapolation and persistence techniques and also NWP forecasts, and that it is able to provide more assured forecasts than persistence and nowcasts at longer lead-times. The robustness of the model is tested and confirmed by way of another case study, this time using Mediterranean storms and with predictions made in the context of urban hydrology. The case studies help to identify aspects of the model that need improvement, with representation of orographic forcing being a key one. Both the model's encouraging performance and its pinpointed weaknesses provide impetus for further research in the area of integrated mesoscale-hydrometeorological modelling for flood forecasting.
Date of Award2001
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorIan Cluckie (Supervisor)


  • Rainfall
  • Precipitation

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