09 Apr 2024
 | 09 Apr 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Coupling WRF with HEC-HMS and WRF-Hydro for flood forecasting in typical mountainous catchments of northern China

Sheik Umar Jam-Jalloh, Jia Liu, Yicheng Wang, and Yuchen Liu

Abstract. The atmospheric-hydrological coupling systems are essential in flood forecasting because they allow for more improved and comprehensive prediction of flood events with an extended forecast lead time. Achieving this goal relies on a reliable hydrological model system that enhances both rainfall predictions and hydrological forecasts. This study evaluated the potential of coupling the mesoscale numerical weather prediction model, i.e., the weather research and forecasting (WRF) model, with different hydrological modeling systems to improve the accuracy of flood simulation. The fully-distributed WRF-Hydro and a simi-distributed Hydrological Engineering Center-Hydrological Modeling System (HEC-HMS) modeling systems were coupled with the WRF model, and the lumped HEC-HMS model was also adopted using the observed gauge precipitation as a benchmark to test the model uncertainty. Four distinct storm events from two mountainous catchments in northern China, characterized by varying spatial and temporal rainfall patterns were selected as case studies. Comparative analyses of the simulated flooding processes were carried out to evaluate and compare the performances of the coupled systems with different complexities. The coupled WRF/HEC-HMS system performed better for long-duration storm events and obtained optimal performance for storm events uniformly distributed both temporally and spatially, as it adapted to more rapid recession processes of floods. However, the coupled WRF/HEC-HMS system did not adequately capture the magnitude of the storm events as it had a larger flow peak error. On the other hand, the fully distributed WRF/WRF-Hydro system performed better for shorter-duration floods with higher flow peaks as it can adapt to the simulation of flash floods. However, the performance of the system became poor as uniformity decreased. The performance of the lumped HEC-HMS indicates some source of uncertainty in the hydrological model when compared with the coupled WRF/HEC-HMS, but a larger magnitude error was found in the WRF output rainfall. The results of this study can help establish an adaptive atmospheric-hydrologic coupling system to improve flood forecasting for different watersheds and climatic characteristics.

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Sheik Umar Jam-Jalloh, Jia Liu, Yicheng Wang, and Yuchen Liu

Status: open (until 23 Jun 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2024-20', Anonymous Referee #1, 20 Apr 2024 reply
Sheik Umar Jam-Jalloh, Jia Liu, Yicheng Wang, and Yuchen Liu
Sheik Umar Jam-Jalloh, Jia Liu, Yicheng Wang, and Yuchen Liu


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Short summary
Explore our paper on improving flood prediction using advanced weather models. We coupled the WRF model with WRF-Hydro and HEC-HMS to enhance accuracy. Discover how our findings contribute to adaptive atmospheric-hydrologic systems for effective flood forecasting.