The effects of threshold nonlinearities on the transformation of rainfall to runoff to floods in a lake dominated catchment system

Dyah Indriana Kusumastuti

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    76 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated abstract] Runoff generation behaviour and flooding in a lake dominated catchment are nonlinear, threshold-driven processes that result from the interactions between climate and various catchment characteristics. A complicating feature of the rainfall to runoff transformation, which may have implications for the flood frequency, is that the various surface and subsurface flow pathways are dynamic, heterogeneous and highly nonlinear, consisting of distinct thresholds. To understand the impact of threshold nonlinearities on the rainfall-runoff transformation in such catchments, a systematic examination was carried out to investigate runoff generation behaviour of the catchment itself, the overflow behaviour of a lake in combination with the catchment draining into it, as well as the lake organisation within a lake chain network. Three storage based thresholds were considered: the catchment field capacity storage governing catchment subsurface stormflow, total storage capacity governing catchment surface runoff, and lake storage capacity governing lake-overflow. ... Through these investigations, this thesis has provided valuable insights into the process controls of lake-overflow events and the associated flood frequency behaviour in lake dominated catchments. In particular, the relative roles of climate, soil depth, the soil's drainage capacity, as well as the relative geometry of the lake vis a vis the contributing catchment, in the determination of the dynamic characteristics of lake-overflow events and associated flood frequency behaviour have been highlighted. In addition, the importance of lake organization, as expressed in terms of the average ratio of catchment area to lake area and the spatial variability of this ratio from upstream to downstream, and their impact upon connectivity and flood frequency have also been explored. The outcomes of this study highlight the importance of thresholds governing flood frequency, and provide insights into the complex interactions between rainfall variability and the various threshold nonlinearities in the rainfall-runoff process, which are shown to have a significant impact on the resulting flood frequency curves. The improved understanding of these process controls will be useful in assisting the 1 management of the catchment-lake system in the study region, and in regions elsewhere. In particular, the outcome of this study can provide guidance towards the adoption of various management strategies for lake chain systems by illustrating the effects of potential flow interruption and retardation as ways to assist in flood prevention and mitigation, whether it is aimed at decreasing the frequency of occurrence of lake overflows, or merely decreasing the flow magnitude for a given return period.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2006


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