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Test of three methods to detect the overbank flow from water level time-series analysis

Abstract : In this study, we propose to identify morphological and hydraulic characteristics related to overbank flows in the water level time-series available at many gauged stations. The results obtained at 13 river stations (the catchment sizes vary from 10 to 1700 km2 with contrasted geology, land use and rainfalls regime) show that overflow mechanisms at the river-reach scale can be systematically identified in the water level frequency distribution estimated with the peaks-over-threshold (POT) method. A first level (Lts1) was in the range of the incipient flooding onto the floodplain. Even if the definition of this level is variable in terms of flooded area at the reach scale, this method can be useful in providing a first estimation of the bankfull level for many gauged stations, without complex and costly field surveys. A second level (Lts2) was systematically detected on average 38 cm above the topographic flat floodplain elevation. The Lts2 inflection in the water-level frequency distribution is assumed to reflect a composite effect of catchment hydrology and local hydraulics and channel geometry, without possibility to make a clear distinction between both processes at the moment. The local or reach scale effect would probably play an essential role in the frequency distribution as flood attenuation at catchment scale may explain the inflection Lts2 at only three sites. In light of the knowledge acquired in laboratory flumes with compound channels, most of the time Lts2 level would correspond to the level of resumption of flow both in the main channel and the floodplain. Once this method is validated in various physiographic contexts, it should apply to many hydrometric stations for both synchronic (e.g. regional analysis) and diachronic analysis (e.g. evolution over time of the bankfull discharge) to evaluate anthropic impacts on river morphology. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 4:19:16 PM
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O. Navratil, M.B. Albert, P. Breil. Test of three methods to detect the overbank flow from water level time-series analysis. Hydrological Processes, Wiley, 2010, 24 (17), pp.2452-2464. ⟨10.1002/hyp.7664⟩. ⟨insu-00564671⟩

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