Quantifying flood model accuracy under varying surface complexities

William Addison-Atkinson, Albert S. Chen, Matteo Rubinato, Fayyaz Ali Memon, James Shucksmith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Floods in urban areas which feature interactions between piped and surface networks are hydraulically complex. Further, obtaining in situ calibration data, although necessary for robust simulations, can be very challenging. The aim of this research is to evaluate the performance of a commonly used deterministic 1D-2D flood model, calibrated using low resolution data, against a higher resolution dataset containing flows, depths and velocity fields; which are replicated from an experimental scale model water facility. Calibration of the numerical model was conducted using a lower resolution dataset, which consisted of a simple rectangular profile. The model was then evaluated against a dataset that was higher in spatial resolution and more complex in geometry (a street profile containing parking spaces). The findings show that when the model increased in scenario complexity model performance was reduced, though most of the simulation error was < 10% (NRMSE). Similarly, there was more error in the validated model that was higher in spatial resolution than lower. This was due to calibration not being stringent enough when conducted in a lower spatial resolution. However, overall the work shows the potential for the use of low-resolution datasets for model calibration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number129511
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue numberPart B
Early online date13 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


  • Dual drainage
  • Flow exchange
  • Model validation
  • Surface flow


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