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Proceedings of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences An open-access publication for refereed proceedings in hydrology
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Volume 370
Proc. IAHS, 370, 125–130, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/piahs-370-125-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Proc. IAHS, 370, 125–130, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/piahs-370-125-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  11 Jun 2015

11 Jun 2015

Dynamics of the flood response to slow-fast landscape-climate feedbacks

R. A. P. Perdigão and G. Blöschl R. A. P. Perdigão and G. Blöschl
  • Institute of Hydraulic Engineering, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria

Abstract. The dynamical evolution of the flood response to landscape-climate feedbacks is evaluated in a joint nonlinear statistical-dynamical approach. For that purpose, a spatiotemporal sensitivity analysis is conducted on hydrological data from 1976–2008 over 804 catchments throughout Austria, and a general, data-independent nonlinear dynamical model is built linking floods with climate (via precipitation), landscape (via elevation) and their feedbacks. These involve nonlinear scale interactions, with landform evolution processes taking place at the millennial scale (slow dynamics), and climate adjusting in years to decades (fast dynamics). The results show that floods are more responsive to spatial (regional) than to temporal (decadal) variability. Catchments from dry lowlands and high wetlands exhibit similarity between the spatial and temporal sensitivities (spatiotemporal symmetry) and low landscape-climate codependence, suggesting they are not coevolving significantly. However, intermediate regions show differences between those sensitivities (symmetry breaks) and higher landscape-climate codependence, suggesting undergoing coevolution. The break of symmetry is an emergent behaviour from nonlinear feedbacks within the system. A new coevolution index is introduced relating spatiotemporal symmetry with relative characteristic celerities, which need to be taken into account in hydrological space-time trading. Coevolution is expressed here by the interplay between slow and fast dynamics, represented respectively by spatial and temporal characteristics. The dynamical model captures emerging features of the flood dynamics and nonlinear landscape-climate feedbacks, supporting the nonlinear statistical assessment of spatiotemporally asymmetric flood change. Moreover, it enables the dynamical estimation of flood changes in space and time from the given knowledge at different spatiotemporal conditions. This study ultimately brings to light emerging signatures of change in floods arising from nonlinear slow-fast feedbacks in the landscape-climate dynamics, and contributes towards a better understanding of spatiotemporal flood changes and underlying nonlinearly interacting drivers.

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Flood regimes are behavioural patterns in floods across a wide variety of events under diverse circumstances. Our goal is to provide a unifying framework to address those regimes, how and why they change in space and time. For that purpose, we introduce a general model of flood regime dynamics under interacting natural factors and validate it with observations spanning a great diversity of hydrological settings. The model ultimately brings better flood understanding and forecasting abilities.
Flood regimes are behavioural patterns in floods across a wide variety of events under diverse...
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