Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Past Research on Rainfall-Runoff (Peak Flows) Modelling and related topics

These works of mine reagards event base prediction of discharges based on the Geomorphological Unit Hydrograph. They show that the detailed knowledge of a river basin's morphology allows one to frame the main features of the  hydrological response in terms of a minimal set of dynamical parameters.  This is relevant insomuch as the form of river networks can now be derived with automatic high resolution and objective remote-sensing techniques.  Typically, the required dynamical parameters are the mean flow velocity in the network and distribution of residence times of water in the hillslopes.

In this context, the variance of the GIUH is proven to depend mostly on the structure of the pathways followed by the single volumes of effective rainfall from their release points to the control cross-section (geomorphological dispersion) [J1] rather than on the hydrodynamic dispersion; the latter becoming  relevant only at the large scale.
Generally, it is possible to determine with precision the first moment, the variance, the  skewness, and the kurtosis of the hydrological response of a river basin  as a whole [A3, A9].  In [A7, J12] the production mechanisms of effective rainfall and the  characteristic contributions of the hillslopes are studied. As a result it was observed that rarely is the  response time of the hillslopes negligible when calculating the hydrological response of the  river basin as a whole.
In  [A18, A19, J21] the use of width functions in the construction of the GIUH and the concept
of including information about initial moisture conditions for the basis are further developed.
In this way it was observed that, with varying fractions of saturated river basin, the hillslopes
and channels contributed different fractions to the flood wave;  the hillslopes being particularly
important under conditions of extreme saturation of the basin [J21].
The formulation of the GIUH on the basis of width functions has also given semi-analytical
results regarding peak times and maximum discharges for a basin [J31].
All of these studies brought to the implementation of part of the Horton Machine [eb-3], and on the model Peakflow (e.g.

The post on the lecture given at Montpellier contains the rational and an explicitation of the assumption made in such type of modelling.

More recently, the study of the hydrological response was directed mainly towards the investigation
of runoff production mechanisms on hillslopes (actually in researches related to the hillslope stability),  in relation to the soil depth [J33, J35, J37] and brought new insights to the concept of hydrological connectivity. These studies overcome the results in [A29] that, while interesting, assume simplistic hillslope setups. Parallel efforts, which are reported in Physico-Statistical Modelling of the Hydrological Cycle, were made in overcoming the limitations of event based modelling.

The paper [j47] is a review taken from a historical-critical point of view of the theory of the geomorphological unit hydrograph that also enlarge the view to the modern theories for describing water fluxes by travel time. It also serves as the starting point for future research in this directions.


In English:

[J1] - Rinaldo, A., A. Marani and R. Rigon, Geomorphological dispersion, Water Resources Research, 27(4), 513-525, 1991

[J12] - Rinaldo A., G. K. Vogel, R., Rigon and I. Rodriguez-Iturbe, Can one gauge the shape of a basin?, Water Resources Research, (31)4, 1119-1127, 1995.

[A18] - Rigon, R., Cozzini A., Pisoni S. Getting the Rescaled Width Function and the Derived WGIUH. The Geomatic Workbooks, (, 2001

[A19] - Rigon, R., Cozzini A., Pisoni S. Looking for a new method of estimating solid discharges in small alpine watersheds. The Geomatic Workbooks, vol. 2, (, 2001

[J21] - D’Odorico, P. e R. Rigon, Hillslope and channel contributions to the hydrologic response, submitted to Water Resour. Res., 2003

[A29] - Panciera, R., Chirico G.B., Rigon R., Grayson R. Contributing Area Dynamics produced by Saturation Excess Runoff. Atti del XXIX Convegno di Idraulica e Costruzioni Idrauliche, Settembre 2004

[eb-3] - R.Rigon, E. Ghesla, C. Tiso and A. Cozzini, The Horton Machine, pg. viii, 136, ISBN 10:88-8443-147-6, University of Trento, 2006

[J31] - R. Rigon, P. D’Odorico, and G. Bertoldi, The geomorphic structure of the runoff peak, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 8, 1031-1058, doi:10.5194/hessd-8- 1031-2011, 2011

[J33] - Lanni, C.; McDonnell, J. J.; Rigon, R., On the relative role of upslope and downslope topography for describing water flow path and storage dynamics: a theoretical analysis, Hydrological Processes Volume: 25 Issue: 25 Pages: 3909-3923, DEC 15 2011, DOI: 10.1002/hyp.8263

[J35] - Lanni C., J. McDonnell JJ, Hopp L., Rigon R., "Simulated effect of soil depth and bedrock topography on near-surface hydrologic response and slope stability" in Earth Surface Processes and  Landforms, v. 2012, (In press). - URL: . - DOI: 10.1002/esp.3267

[J37] - Lanni C., Borga M., Rigon R., and Tarolli P., Modelling catchment-scale shallow landslide occurrence by means of a subsurface flow path connectivity index, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 9, 4101-4134, www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci- doi:10.5194/hessd-9-4101-2012,

[J47] - Rigon R.,  Bancheri M.,  Formetta G.,  deLavenne A. , The geomorphic unit hydrograph from a historical-critical perspective, accepted in Earth Sci. Proc. & Landforms, 2015

In Italian:

[A3] - Rigon, R., Influenza della morfologia di un bacino montano sui caratteri della risposta idrologica, Atti del XXXII Convegno di Idraulica e di Costruzione idrauliche, Firenze, 1992.

[A7] - Rigon, R., Formulazione del trasporto per tempi di residenza: un‘alternativa ai modelli di pioggia efficace nel calcolo della risposta idrologica, Atti del XXIV Convegno di Idraulica e di Costruzione idrauliche, Napoli, 1994

[A9] - Rigon, R., P. D’Odorico e L. Parra, Metodi geomorfologici di inferenza della risposta idrologica, Atti del XXV Convegno di Idraulica e di Costruzioni idrauliche, Torino, 1996.

[A13] - D’Odorico, P., M. Marani e R. Rigon, Questioni geomorfologiche e previsione delle piene nei bacini fluviali, Atti XXVI Convegno di Idraulica e Costruzioni Idrauliche, Vol II, 73, 1998

[A24] - Rinaldo A., M. Marani, A. Fornasiero, G. Botter, S. Silvestri, A. Bellin, Rigon R., M. Ferri, F. Baruffi, A. Rusconi. Modelli geomorfologici - Montecarlo per la valutazione del tempo di ritorno delle piene fluviali: fiume Brenta chiuso a Bassano. Atti del XXVIII Convegno di Idraulica e Costruzioni Idrauliche, vol. 1, pp.271-278, 2002

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