Inundation mapping based on reach-scale effective geometry

Rebolho, Cédric; Andréassian, Vazken; Le Moine, Nicolas

The production of spatially accurate representations of potential inundation is often limited by the lack of available data as well as model complexity. We present in this paper a new approach for rapid inundation mapping, MHYST, which is well adapted for data-scarce areas; it combines hydraulic geometry concepts for channels and DEM data for floodplains. Its originality lies in the fact that it does not work at the cross section scale but computes effective geometrical properties to describe the reach scale. Combining reach-scale geometrical properties with 1-D steady-state flow equations, MHYST computes a topographically coherent relation between the “height above nearest drainage” and streamflow. This relation can then be used on a past or future event to produce inundation maps. The MHYST approach is tested here on an extreme flood event that occurred in France in May–June 2016. The results indicate that it has a tendency to slightly underestimate inundation extents, although efficiency criteria values are clearly encouraging. The spatial distribution of model performance is discussed and it shows that the model can perform very well on most reaches, but has difficulties modelling the more complex, urbanised reaches. MHYST should not be seen as a rival to detailed inundation studies, but as a first approximation able to rapidly provide inundation maps in data-scarce areas.



Rebolho, Cédric / Andréassian, Vazken / Le Moine, Nicolas: Inundation mapping based on reach-scale effective geometry. 2018. Copernicus Publications.


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