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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 11 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 2899-2920, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 05 Nov 2014

Research article | 05 Nov 2014

A coupling of hydrologic and hydraulic models appropriate for the fast floods of the Gardon River basin (France)

O. Laganier, P. A. Ayral, D. Salze, and S. Sauvagnargues O. Laganier et al.
  • Ecole des Mines d'Alès, Laboratoire de Génie de l'Environnement Industriel et des Risques Industriels et Naturels, Alès, France

Abstract. Mediterranean catchments are regularly affected by fast and flash floods. Numerous hydrologic models have been developed, and allow modelling of these floods. However, these approaches often concern average-size basins of a few hundred km2. At larger scales (>1000 km2), coupling of hydrologic and hydraulic models appears to be an adapted solution. This study has as its first objective the evaluation of the performances of a coupling of models for flood hydrograph modelling. Secondly, the coupling results are compared with those of other modelling options. The aim of these comparisons is to clear up the following points. (1) Is a simplified routing model (lag and route) as efficient as a full hydraulic model for the modelling of hydrographs, in the intermediary downstream part of the stream? (2) Is adding lateral inflows necessary for all studied events? (3) What is the impact of the qualities of upstream hydrologic modelling feeding the coupling? The coupling combines the SCS–LR (Soil Conservation Service–lag-and-route) hydrologic model of the ATHYS platform and the MASCARET 1-D hydraulic model based on full Saint-Venant equations. It is applied to the Gardon River basin (2040 km2) in the south of France. For the seven studied events, the results of the coupling are satisfactory, the calculated Nash indexes varying between 0.61 and 0.97. The comparisons with the other modelling options show the important role of the spatial distribution of rains during events: when rains are centered on the intermediary downstream part of the catchment, adding lateral inflows is necessary; when rains are more important in the upstream part, the quality of the hydrologic modelling upstream of the coupling has a strong impact. Furthermore, the used coupling of models seems well adapted for water rising and flooded area forecasting. The future developments of the tool will concentrate on this point.

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