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Seasonal and annual maximum streamflow forecasting using climate information: application to the Three Gorges dam in the Yangtze River basin

TitleSeasonal and annual maximum streamflow forecasting using climate information: application to the Three Gorges dam in the Yangtze River basin
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsBrown C, Kwon H-H, Xu K, Lall U
JournalHydrologic Sciences Journal
Volume54
Issue3
Start Page582
Pagination582-595
Date Published06/2009
Keywordshierarchical Bayesian model, Three Gorges Dam; Yangtze River (Changjiang); seasonal flow forecast; peak flow forecast; reservoir operations
Abstract
This paper explores the potential for seasonal prediction of hydrological variables that are potentially useful for reservoir operation of the Three Gorges Dam, China. The seasonal flow of the primary inflow season and the peak annual flow are investigated at Yichang hydrological station, a proxy for inflows to the Three Gorges Dam. Building on literature and diagnostic results, a prediction model is constructed using sea-surface temperatures and upland snow cover available one season ahead of the prediction period. A hierarchical Bayesian approach is used to estimate uncertainty in the parameters of the prediction model and to propagate these uncertainties to the predictand. The results show skill for both the seasonal flow and the peak annual flow. The peak annual flow model is then used to estimate a design flood (50-year flood or 2% exceedence probability) on a year-to-year basis. The results demonstrate the inter-annual variability in flood risk. The predictability of both the seasonal total inflow and the peak annual flow (or a design flood volume) offers potential for adaptive management of the Three Gorges Dam reservoir through modification of the operating policy in accordance with the year-to-year changes in these variables.