08 Aug 2023
 | 08 Aug 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Comparison of different rheological approaches and flow direction algorithms in a physically based debris flow model for data scarce regions

Leonardo Rodolfo Paul, Gean Paulo Michel, Heron Schwarz, Bruno Henrique Abatti, and Clarissa Guerra Salvador

Abstract. A debris flow simulation model was proposed for data-scarce regions. The model couples a one-dimensional explicit solution for a monophasic sediment-water mixture with flow direction algorithms for debris flow routing. We investigate the effects of different multiple flow direction algorithms (D8, D∞, and Freeman’s Multiple Flow Direction (MFD)) and multiple rheology approaches (Newtonian, Bingham, Herschel-Bulkley, and dilatant) for the one-dimensional flow on the debris flow simulations. The model was tested by simulating debris flows triggered by an extreme rainfall in the Mascarada river basin in southern Brazil. We conducted two separate sets of simulations: one focused on the effects of flow directions, considering multiple DEM resolutions, and another to compare rheology approaches. A third simulation was conducted for multiple debris flows concurrently, utilizing optimal parameters derived from the results of the two simulation sets. D8 proved to be unsuitable for debris flow routing, whereas MFD performed better for high-resolution DEM (1 m pixel size) and D∞ for coarser resolutions (2.5, 5, and 10 m). In terms of affected area, the difference between the rheology approaches was less impactful than the difference between flow direction algorithms. The lack of velocity estimates and deposition depths for the simulated debris flow hindered a detailed comparison of which rheology had a more accurate result. Nevertheless, we found MFD and dilatant fluid to perform slightly better and utilize the optimal parameters to simulate three other debris flows, reaching true positive ratios of 58 % up to 83 %.

Leonardo Rodolfo Paul et al.

Status: open (until 20 Oct 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Leonardo Rodolfo Paul et al.

Model code and software

SIRDEFLOW Leonardo Rodolfo Paul

Leonardo Rodolfo Paul et al.


Total article views: 257 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
209 38 10 257 6 6
  • HTML: 209
  • PDF: 38
  • XML: 10
  • Total: 257
  • BibTeX: 6
  • EndNote: 6
Views and downloads (calculated since 08 Aug 2023)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 08 Aug 2023)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 239 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 239 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 03 Oct 2023
Short summary
This research focuses on the development and testing of a process-based debris flow model with as little parametrization as possible for application in data-scarce regions. The model was built with different methods to calculate the velocities of the flow and its directions. The model was tested on Brazilian debris flow events and was capable of reproducing them with satisfactory accuracy. Depending on the resolution of the digital terrain model, there is an optimal method for flow direction.