Can floods in large river basins be predicted from floods observed in small subbasins?

Recent results from the analysis of peak floods observed in nested watersheds have revealed the existence of a scale invariant relationship between peak floods and drainage area at the scale of a single rainfall‐runoff event. In this article, we show that a log‐linear relationship between α(e) and θ(e) can be used to simplify the problem of predicting α(e) and θ(e) from the physical characteristics of the catchment and rainfall. In particular, we show that α(e) can be predicted from peak floods observed in the smallest gauged subcatchment in the basin and its log‐linear relationship with θ(e) can be used to predict peak flood at any location in the basin. We demonstrate this using observed peak floods from the Iowa River basin in the Upper Midwest part of United States.

Ayalew, T.B., W.F. Krajewski, R. Mantilla, and D.L. Zimmerman, Can floods at large river basin be predicted from floods observed at small subbasins? Journal of Flood Risk Management, 1-8, DOI: 10.1111/jfr3.12327, 2017.