Paper Published by Environmental Modelling & Software

Title: Real-time peak flow prediction based on signal matching

Journal: Environmental Modelling & Software


Abstract: Real-time peak flow prediction under heavy precipitation is critically important for flood emergency evacuation planning and management. In the case of emergency evacuation, every second matters as a slightly longer lead time could save more lives and reduce the associated social, economic, and health impacts. Here, we present a model (named SIGMA) based on the principle of signal matching to facilitate real-time peak flow prediction at sub-hourly scales (e.g., minutes to seconds). The SIGMA model divides the target watershed into small zones and the heavy precipitation falling into each zone is collected into a small water tank. As the water tank moves downstream and arrives in the watershed outlet, it will discharge the collected precipitation and generate a small single-pulse streamflow signal. By combining all small signals coming from all zones within the watershed, we will be able to generate a synthesized peak flow signal. The proposed model is applied to simulate the peak flow events observed in a real-world watershed to verify its effectiveness in real-time flood prediction. The results suggest that the presented model can reasonably predict three key aspects of a peak flow event, including the peak flow rate, the arrival time of peak flow, and the duration of the peak flow event. The proposed model is demonstrated to be effective in real-time flood prediction and can be used to support flood emergency evacuation planning and management.