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Performance of automated methods for flash flood inundation mapping: a comparison of a digital terrain model (DTM) filling and two hydrodynamic methods

Abstract : Flash floods observed in headwater catchments often cause catastrophic material and human damage worldwide. Considering the large number of small watercourses possibly affected, the use of automated methods for flood inundation mapping at a regional scale can be of great help for the identification of threatened areas and the prediction of potential impacts of these floods. An application of three mapping methods of increasing level of complexity is presented herein, including a digital terrain model (DTM) filling approach (height above nearest drainage/Manning–Strickler or HAND/MS) and two hydrodynamic methods (caRtino 1D and Floodos 2D). These methods are used to estimate the flooded areas of three major flash floods observed during the last 10 years in southeastern France, i.e., the 15 June 2010 flooding of the Argens river and its tributaries (585 km of river reaches), the 3 October 2015 flooding of small coastal rivers of the French Riviera (131 km of river reaches) and the 15 October 2018 flooding of the Aude river and its tributaries (561 km of river reaches). The common features of the three mapping approaches are their high level of automation, their application based on a high-resolution (5 m) DTM, and their reasonable computation times. Hydraulic simulations are run in steady-state regime, based on peak discharges estimated using a rainfall–runoff model preliminarily adjusted for each event. The simulation results are compared with the reported flood extent maps and the high water level marks. A clear grading of the tested methods is revealed, illustrating some limits of the HAND/MS approach and an overall better performance of hydraulic models which solve the shallow water equations. With these methods, a good retrieval of the inundated areas is illustrated by critical success index (CSI) median values close to 80 %, and the errors on water levels remain mostly below 80 cm for the 2D Floodos approach. The most important remaining errors are related to limits of the DTM, such as the lack of bathymetric information, uncertainties on embankment elevation, and possible bridge blockages not accounted for in the models.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 7, 2021 - 10:20:44 AM
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Nabil Hocini, Olivier Payrastre, François Bourgin, Eric Gaume, Philippe Davy, et al.. Performance of automated methods for flash flood inundation mapping: a comparison of a digital terrain model (DTM) filling and two hydrodynamic methods. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, European Geosciences Union, 2021, 25 (6), pp.2979 - 2995. ⟨10.5194/hess-25-2979-2021⟩. ⟨insu-03251469⟩

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