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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(7), 727; doi:10.3390/rs9070727

100 Years of Competition between Reduction in Channel Capacity and Streamflow during Floods in the Guadalquivir River (Southern Spain)

Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Ciencias de la Tierra (CEACTierra), Universidad de Jaén, Campus de las Lagunillas, 23071 Jaén, Spain
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Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 8 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Climate Change and Water Resources)
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Abstract

Reduction in channel capacity can trigger an increase in flood hazard over time. It represents a geomorphic driver that competes against its hydrologic counterpart where streamflow decreases. We show that this situation arose in the Guadalquivir River (Southern Spain) after impoundment. We identify the physical parameters that raised flood hazard in the period 1997–2013 with respect to past years 1910–1996 and quantify their effects by accounting for temporal trends in both streamflow and channel capacity. First, we collect historical hydrological data to lengthen records of extreme flooding events since 1910. Next, inundated areas and grade lines across a 70 km stretch of up to 2 km wide floodplain are delimited from Landsat and TerraSAR-X satellite images of the most recent floods (2009–2013). Flooded areas are also computed using standard two-dimensional Saint-Venant equations. Simulated stages are verified locally and across the whole domain with collected hydrological data and satellite images, respectively. The thoughtful analysis of flooding and geomorphic dynamics over multi-decadal timescales illustrates that non-stationary channel adaptation to river impoundment decreased channel capacity and increased flood hazard. Previous to channel squeezing and pre-vegetation encroachment, river discharges as high as 1450 m3·s−1 (the year 1924) were required to inundate the same areas as the 790 m3·s−1 streamflow for recent floods (the year 2010). We conclude that future projections of one-in-a-century river floods need to include geomorphic drivers as they compete with the reduction of peak discharges under the current climate change scenario. View Full-Text
Keywords: Guadalquivir River; flood; Landsat; paleohydrology; backwater effect; reservoir sedimentation; climate change Guadalquivir River; flood; Landsat; paleohydrology; backwater effect; reservoir sedimentation; climate change
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bohorquez, P.; del Moral-Erencia, J.D. 100 Years of Competition between Reduction in Channel Capacity and Streamflow during Floods in the Guadalquivir River (Southern Spain). Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 727.

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