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Water 2017, 9(3), 163;

Physically, Fully-Distributed Hydrologic Simulations Driven by GPM Satellite Rainfall over an Urbanizing Arid Catchment in Saudi Arabia

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Water Research Group, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Hongjie Xie and Y. Jun Xu
Received: 4 December 2016 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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A physically-based, distributed-parameter hydrologic model was used to simulate a recent flood event in the city of Hafr Al Batin, Saudi Arabia to gain a better understanding of the runoff generation and spatial distribution of flooding. The city is located in a very arid catchment. Flooding of the city is influenced by the presence of three major tributaries that join the main channel in and around the heavily urbanized area. The Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (IMERG) rainfall product was used due to lack of detailed ground observations. To overcome the heavy computational demand, the catchment was divided into three sub-catchments with a variable model grid resolution. The model was run on three subcatchments separately, without losing hydrologic connectivity among the sub-catchments. Uncalibrated and calibrated satellite products were used producing different estimates of the predicted runoff. The runoff simulations demonstrated that 85% of the flooding was generated in the urbanized portion of the catchments for the simulated flood. Additional model simulations were performed to understand the roles of the unique channel network in the city flooding. The simulations provided insights into the best options for flood mitigation efforts. The variable model grid size approach allowed using physically-based, distributed models—such as the Gridded Surface Subsurface Hydrologic Analysis (GSSHA) model used in this study—on large basins that include urban centers that need to be modeled at very high resolutions. View Full-Text
Keywords: floods; hydrologic modeling; GSSHA; satellite rainfall; IMERG; GPM floods; hydrologic modeling; GSSHA; satellite rainfall; IMERG; GPM

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Sharif, H.O.; Al-Zahrani, M.; Hassan, A.E. Physically, Fully-Distributed Hydrologic Simulations Driven by GPM Satellite Rainfall over an Urbanizing Arid Catchment in Saudi Arabia. Water 2017, 9, 163.

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