Rainfall forecasting algorithms for real time flood forecasting
A fast catchment response usually leads to a shorter lag time, and under these conditions the forecast lead time obtained from a rainfall-runoff model or correlation between upstream and downstream flows may be infeasible for flood warning purposes. Additional lead time can be obtained from short-term quantitative rainfall forecasts that extend the flood warning time and increase the economic viability of a flood forecasting system. For this purpose algorithms which forecasts the quantitative rainfall amounts up to six hours ahead have been developed, based on lumped and distributed approaches.
The lumped forecasting algorithm includes the essential features of storm dynamics such as rainband and raincell movements which are represented within the framework of a linear transfer function model. The dynamics of a storm are readily captured by radar data. A space-time rainfall model is used to generate synthetic radar data with known features, e.g. rainband and raincell velocities. This enables the algorithm to be assessed under ideal conditions, as errors are present in observed radar data.
The transfer function algorithm can be summarised as follows. The dynamics of the rainbands and raincells are incorporated as inputs into the transfer function model. The algorithm employs simple spatial cross-correlation techniques to estimate the rainband and raincell velocities. The translated rainbands and raincells then form the auxiliary inputs to the transfer function. An optimal predictor based on minimum square error is then derived from the transfer function model, and its parameters are estimated from the auxiliary inputs and observed radar data in real-time using a recursive least squares algorithm.
While the transfer-function algorithm forecasts areal rainfalls, a distributed approach which performs rainfall forecasting at a fine spatial resolution (referred to as the advection equation algorithm) is also evaluated in this thesis. The algorithm expresses the space-time rainfall on a Cartesian coordinate system via a partial differential advection equation. A simple explicit finite difference solution scheme is applied to the equation. A comparison of model parameter estimates is undertaken using a square root information filter data processing algorithm, and single-input single-output and multiple-input multiple-output least squares algorithms.