Modeling the hydrodynamic interactions between the main channel and the floodplain at McCarran Ranch in the lower Truckee River, Nevada
- 1State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
- 2College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
- 3Division of Hydrologic Sciences, Desert Research Institute, Las Vegas, 89119, USA
Abstract. This study applied the two-dimensional AdH (adaptive hydraulics) hydrodynamic model to a river reach to analyze flood hydraulics on complex floodplains. Using the AdH model combined with bathymetry and topographic data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) seamless server and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), we intended to examine the interactions between the channel and floodplain of a 10 km stretch at McCarran Ranch, which is located at the lower Truckee River in Nevada. After calibrating the model, we tested the dependence of the modeling results on mesh density, input parameters, and time steps and compared the modeling results to the existing gauged data (both the discharge and water stage heights). Results show that the accuracy of prediction from the AdH model may decline slightly at higher discharges and water levels. The modeling results are more sensitive to the roughness coefficient of the main channel, which suggests that the model calibration should give priority to the main channel roughness. A detailed analysis of the floodwater dynamics was then conducted using the modeling approach to examine the hydraulic linkage between the main channel and floodplains. We found that large flood events could lead to a significantly higher proportion of total flow being routed through the floodplains. During peak discharges, a river channel diverted as much as 65 % of the total discharge into the floodplain. During the periods of overbank flow, the transboundary flux ratio was approximately 5 to 45 % of the total river discharge, which indicates substantial exchange between the main channel and floodplains. The results also showed that both the relations of the inundation area and volume versus the discharge exhibit an apparent looped curve form, which suggests that flood routing has an areal hysteresis effect on floodplains.