Improving flood forecasting using an input correction method in urban models in poorly gauged areas

Maria Clara Fava*, Maurizio Mazzoleni, Narumi Abe, Eduardo Mario Mendiondo, Dimitri P. Solomatine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Poorly monitored catchments could pose a challenge in the provision of accurate flood predictions by hydrological models, especially in urbanized areas subject to heavy rainfall events. Data assimilation techniques have been widely used in hydraulic and hydrological models for model updating (typically updating model states) to provide a more reliable prediction. However, in the case of nonlinear systems, such procedures are quite complex and time-consuming, making them unsuitable for real-time forecasting. In this study, we present a data assimilation procedure, which corrects the uncertain inputs (rainfall), rather than states, of an urban catchment model by assimilating water-level data. Five rainfall correction methods are proposed and their effectiveness is explored under different scenarios for assimilating data from one or multiple sensors. The methodology is adopted in the city of São Carlos, Brazil. The results show a significant improvement in the simulation accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1096-1111
Number of pages16
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • data assimilation
  • flood modelling
  • physically-based model
  • semi-distributed model
  • SWMM


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