Articles | Volume 13, issue 7
Research article
25 Jul 2013
Research article |  | 25 Jul 2013

A joint probability approach using a 1-D hydrodynamic model for estimating high water level frequencies in the Lower Rhine Delta

H. Zhong, P.-J. van Overloop, and P. H. A. J. M. van Gelder

Abstract. The Lower Rhine Delta, a transitional area between the River Rhine and Meuse and the North Sea, is at risk of flooding induced by infrequent events of a storm surge or upstream flooding, or by more infrequent events of a combination of both. A joint probability analysis of the astronomical tide, the wind induced storm surge, the Rhine flow and the Meuse flow at the boundaries is established in order to produce the joint probability distribution of potential flood events. Three individual joint probability distributions are established corresponding to three potential flooding causes: storm surges and normal Rhine discharges, normal sea levels and high Rhine discharges, and storm surges and high Rhine discharges. For each category, its corresponding joint probability distribution is applied, in order to stochastically simulate a large number of scenarios. These scenarios can be used as inputs to a deterministic 1-D hydrodynamic model in order to estimate the high water level frequency curves at the transitional locations. The results present the exceedance probability of the present design water level for the economically important cities of Rotterdam and Dordrecht. The calculated exceedance probability is evaluated and compared to the governmental norm. Moreover, the impact of climate change on the high water level frequency curves is quantified for the year 2050 in order to assist in decisions regarding the adaptation of the operational water management system and the flood defense system.