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Study of cloudburst and flash floods around Leh, India, during August 4–6, 2010

Study of cloudburst and flash floods around Leh, India, during August 4–6, 2010 Leh and surrounding region of the Ladakh mountain range in the trans-Himalaya experienced multiple cloudbursts and associated flash floods during August 4–6, 2010. However, 12.8 mm/day rainfall recorded at the nearest meteorological station at Leh did not corroborate with the flood severity. For better understanding of this event, hydrological analysis and atmospheric modeling are carried out in tandem. Two small catchments (<3 km2) were studied along the stream continuum to assess the flood characteristics to identify the cloudburst impact zones. Peak flood discharges were estimated close to the head wall region and at the catchment outlet of the Leh town and the Sabu eastern tributary catchments. Storm runoff depth is estimated by developing a triangular hydrograph by using the known time base of the flood hydrograph. This triangular hydrographs have been transformed further into storm hydrographs to gain a better understanding of the storm duration by using the dimensionless hydrograph method at selected cross sections. Storm duration is estimated by using the relationship between time to peak and time of concentration of the catchment. The peak flood estimates ranged from 122(±35 %) m3/s for Leh town catchment (2.393 km2), 545(±35 %) m3/s for Sabu eastern tributary catchment (2.831 km2) to 1,070(±35 %) m3/sec for Sabu catchment (64.95 km2). To assess the atmospheric processes associated with this event, a triple nest simulation (27, 9 and 3 km) is performed using Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) modeling system. The simulation does show the evolution of the event from August 4 to 6, 2010. Observation constraints, orographic responses, etc. make such analysis complex at such scale. Independent estimate by the atmospheric process model and the hydrological method shows the storm depth of 70 mm and 91.8(±35 %) mm, respectively, in catchment scale. Hydrological evaluation further refined the spatial and temporal extents of the cloudbursts in the respective catchments with an estimated storm depth of 209(±35 %) mm in 11.9 min and 320(±35 %) in 8.8 min occurring in an area of 0.842–1.601 km2, respectively. This study shows that the insight developed on the cloudburst phenomena by the atmospheric and the hydrological modeling is hugely constrained by the spatial and temporal scales of data used for the analysis. Apart from this, study also highlighted the regular occurrence of cloudburst events over this region in the recent past. Most of such events go unreported due to lack of monitoring mechanisms in the region and weaken our ability to understand these events in complete perspective. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Natural Hazards Springer Journals

Study of cloudburst and flash floods around Leh, India, during August 4–6, 2010

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References (50)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Earth Sciences; Natural Hazards; Hydrogeology; Geophysics/Geodesy; Geotechnical Engineering & Applied Earth Sciences; Civil Engineering; Environmental Management
ISSN
0921-030X
eISSN
1573-0840
DOI
10.1007/s11069-012-0464-2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Leh and surrounding region of the Ladakh mountain range in the trans-Himalaya experienced multiple cloudbursts and associated flash floods during August 4–6, 2010. However, 12.8 mm/day rainfall recorded at the nearest meteorological station at Leh did not corroborate with the flood severity. For better understanding of this event, hydrological analysis and atmospheric modeling are carried out in tandem. Two small catchments (<3 km2) were studied along the stream continuum to assess the flood characteristics to identify the cloudburst impact zones. Peak flood discharges were estimated close to the head wall region and at the catchment outlet of the Leh town and the Sabu eastern tributary catchments. Storm runoff depth is estimated by developing a triangular hydrograph by using the known time base of the flood hydrograph. This triangular hydrographs have been transformed further into storm hydrographs to gain a better understanding of the storm duration by using the dimensionless hydrograph method at selected cross sections. Storm duration is estimated by using the relationship between time to peak and time of concentration of the catchment. The peak flood estimates ranged from 122(±35 %) m3/s for Leh town catchment (2.393 km2), 545(±35 %) m3/s for Sabu eastern tributary catchment (2.831 km2) to 1,070(±35 %) m3/sec for Sabu catchment (64.95 km2). To assess the atmospheric processes associated with this event, a triple nest simulation (27, 9 and 3 km) is performed using Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) modeling system. The simulation does show the evolution of the event from August 4 to 6, 2010. Observation constraints, orographic responses, etc. make such analysis complex at such scale. Independent estimate by the atmospheric process model and the hydrological method shows the storm depth of 70 mm and 91.8(±35 %) mm, respectively, in catchment scale. Hydrological evaluation further refined the spatial and temporal extents of the cloudbursts in the respective catchments with an estimated storm depth of 209(±35 %) mm in 11.9 min and 320(±35 %) in 8.8 min occurring in an area of 0.842–1.601 km2, respectively. This study shows that the insight developed on the cloudburst phenomena by the atmospheric and the hydrological modeling is hugely constrained by the spatial and temporal scales of data used for the analysis. Apart from this, study also highlighted the regular occurrence of cloudburst events over this region in the recent past. Most of such events go unreported due to lack of monitoring mechanisms in the region and weaken our ability to understand these events in complete perspective.

Journal

Natural HazardsSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 29, 2012

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