Evaluation of an Application of Probabilistic Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts for Flood Forecasting

Date
2020-10-14
Authors
Goenner, Andrew R.
Franz, Kristie
Gallus, William
Roberts, Brett
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Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
Abstract
Probabilistic streamflow forecasts using precipitation derived from ensemble-based Probabilistic Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (PQPFs) are examined. The PQPFs provide rainfall amounts associated with probabilities of exceedance for all grid points, which are averaged to the watershed scale for input to the operational Sacramento Soil Moisture Accounting hydrologic model to generate probabilistic streamflow predictions. The technique was tested using both the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh Ensemble (HRRRE) and the High-Resolution Ensemble Forecast version 2.0 (HREF) for 11 river basins across the upper Midwest for 109 cases. The resulting discharges associated with low probability of exceedance values were too large; no events were observed having discharges above the 10% exceedance value predicted from the technique applied to both ensembles, and no events were observed having discharges above the 25% exceedance value from the HREF-based forecast. The large differences are due to using the same precipitation exceedance value at all points; it is unlikely that all watershed points would experience the heavy rainfall associated with the 5% probability of exceedance. The technique likely can be improved through calibration of the basin-average precipitation forecasts based on typical distributions of precipitation within the convective systems that dominate warm-season precipitation events or calibration of the resulting probabilistic discharge forecasts.
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This article is published as Goenner, Andrew R., Kristie J. Franz, William A. Gallus Jr, and Brett Roberts. "Evaluation of an Application of Probabilistic Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts for Flood Forecasting." Water 12, no. 10 (2020): 2860. DOI: 10.3390/w12102860. Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.
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