CEG8523 : Modelling and Forecasting of Floods

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To introduce current theory and practice of flood risk estimation, modelling and forecasting. To give hands-on practice with industrial standard software.

This module introduces different frameworks for flood estimation and modelling from statistical to simulation, from data driven to physically based modelling and put them in wider context of flood risk management. Students will learn how to use industry standard flood estimation and modelling techniques. They will also learn principles and current practices of real time flood forecasting and warning (RTFFW).

Outline Of Syllabus

FEH – Statistical approach to Flood Hazard Estimation
PRACTICAL – FEH Flood Estimation
Flood modelling – 1D, 2D
PRACTICAL – Noah1D, CityCat
Rainfall forecasting: rainfall, radar, models
NFFS: the EA National flood Forecasting System
Joint Environment Agency and Met Office Flood Forecasting Centre for England and Wales
The Morpeth flood: physical and emergency response aspects
Predictive uncertainty and its use to improve decision making
Data assimilation
PRACTICAL – Virtual flood – A simulated flood event and warning response exercise
Coastal flooding: storm surge and tsunami

N.B. This module is also open to students attending the (funded) HydroEurope event run by UNSA (Nice). This is a 2-week event run at the same time as the Newcastle course (first week is the same time). The course aims and topics covered are very similar: demonstration and use of modelling methods for the estimation of extreme events and forecasting. The software used in Nice will be different, but both sets are equivalent industry standard software. The coursework task description is written to cover both eventualities.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion124:0024:00Preparation and completion of report.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical43:0012:00Hydrograph generation and development of river model
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study144:0044:00Includes background reading and reading lecture notes for a full understanding of material
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

To impart the basic theoretical and practical understanding represented by the knowledge and skills outcomes via a mix of self learning and formal teaching, including formal lectures and practicals with active student participation.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M100Parts A, B and C Max length 15pp.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Report will consist of:
Part A : Estimation of 1% Annual Exceedance Probability Flood event for the River Brue (Somerset, UK) using standard FEH and other methods. Discussion of methods to deal with re-estimation when a record breaking flood has occurred.
Part B. River level modelling for flood events in the River Brue will be carried out where firstly the practice of estimating level from discharge will be carried out and secondly, interventions will be made to reduce flood risk and tested in the model.
Part C: Flood forecasting: to analyse model flood forecasts using POD/FAR, and to identify a model-based threshold that optimizes POD and FAR.

N.B. Students attending HydroEurope (at UNSA, Nice) will carry out similar work in a 2 week period and prepare a similar report on the elements of flood discharge and level estimation, and forecasting for the River Var (France).

A substantial piece of coursework will test the students' ability to understand and apply the knowledge they acquire in practice, including the use of methods and software. In addition, as it is an open ended work it also tests students' initiative.

A headstart will be made using computational resources during the practicals, with further analysis and writing up afterwards. Students will work in groups of 2 (part-time students will work individually)

1. Hydrograph generation

A 100-year flood hydrograph for a chosen catchment will be generated:-
(a)       FEH statistical method to be used for single-site and pooled frequency analysis to generate 2 estimates of peak discharge.

2. River level modelling

River models should be developed using terrain data and 1D and 2D software used in practical sessions. Model will be set up and calibrated using supplied channel cross-sections and ancillary information. Discharge estimate, from the first part of this coursework, will be used as input to river models. After the model has been established, it will be used to test channel interventions to reduce flood risk.

3. Flood forecasting. Model flood forecasts will be analysed critically and a model-based threshold will be identified that optimizes performance.

Reading Lists