Hydrodynamic Modeling of Inundation Patterns of a Large African Floodplain Indicates Sensitivity to Waterway Restoration

T. D. M. Willis*, M. W. Smith, D. E. Cross, A. J. Hardy, G. E. Ettrich, H. Malawo, C. Chalo, M. Sinkombo, C. J. Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Large-scale floodplains are important features of the African continent. Regular inundation provides the means to support large populations but can also present problems such as access to health facilities and water body formation that sustain malaria vectors. Modeling of these floodplains is therefore important, but complex. In this research, we develop, calibrate, and validate a hydrodynamic model of the Barotse Floodplain, of the Upper Zambezi, Zambia. The floodplain has seen recent infrastructure developments including the restoration of the canal network and construction of a cross floodplain causeway. In order to create a robust model, a multiobjective calibration uses a time slice approach based on available Landsat satellite image overpasses. An emulator-based sensitivity analysis indicates the significance of hydrological processes in the model. Model evaluation is undertaken for two events in the gauge record (2009 and 2018), of similar magnitude that occur before and after modifications to the floodplain. Results indicate a complex impact of infrastructure development on the hydrodynamics of the floodplain, with a higher peak flow, but with a redistribution of water throughout the floodplain. Deeper flooding is observed in some areas while others experience lower water levels. The sensitivity results also reflect a change in processes, where floodplain flows dominate the 2009 event, whilst channel process dominate the 2018 event. Overall, we show that relatively modest modifications to the floodplain have impacted flood water levels, which in turn will influence access route availability and alter malaria transmission rates.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021WR030107
Number of pages20
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume58
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • ATMOSPHERIC COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE
  • ATMOSPHERIC PROCESSES
  • Abrupt/rapid climate change
  • Air/sea constituent fluxes
  • Air/sea interactions
  • Atmospheric
  • Atmospheric effects
  • Avalanches
  • BIOGEOSCIENCES
  • Benefit‐cost analysis
  • COMPUTATIONAL GEOPHYSICS
  • CRYOSPHERE
  • Climate and interannual variability
  • Climate change and variability
  • Climate dynamics
  • Climate impact
  • Climate impacts
  • Climate variability
  • Climatology
  • Decadal ocean variability
  • Disaster risk analysis and assessment
  • Earth system modeling
  • Earthquake ground motions and engineering seismology
  • Effusive volcanism
  • Explosive volcanism
  • Floodplain dynamics
  • GEODESY AND GRAVITY
  • GEOHEALTH
  • GLOBAL CHANGE
  • General circulation
  • Geological
  • Global change from geodesy
  • Gravity and isostasy
  • HYDROLOGY
  • Human impact
  • Human impacts
  • Hydrological cycles and budgets
  • INFORMATICS
  • Impacts of global change
  • Impacts on humans
  • Land/atmosphere interactions
  • MARINE GEOLOGY AND GEOPHYSICS
  • MATHEMATICAL GEOPHYSICS
  • Mass balance
  • Modeling
  • Mud volcanism
  • NATURAL HAZARDS
  • Numerical modeling
  • Numerical solutions
  • OCEANOGRAPHY: GENERAL
  • OCEANOGRAPHY: PHYSICAL
  • Ocean influence of Earth rotation
  • Ocean monitoring with geodetic techniques
  • Ocean/Earth/atmosphere/hydrosphere/cryosphere interactions
  • Ocean/atmosphere interactions
  • Oceanic
  • Oceans
  • PALEOCEANOGRAPHY
  • POLICY SCIENCES
  • Physical modeling
  • RADIO SCIENCE
  • Radio oceanography
  • Regional climate change
  • Regional modeling
  • Research Article
  • Risk
  • SEISMOLOGY
  • SPACE WEATHER
  • Sea level change
  • Sea level: variations and mean
  • Solid Earth
  • Surface waves and tides
  • Theoretical modeling
  • Tsunamis and storm surges
  • Uncertainty
  • Uncertainty assessment
  • Uncertainty quantification
  • VOLCANOLOGY
  • Vector born diseases
  • Volcanic effects
  • Volcanic hazards and risks
  • Volcano monitoring
  • Volcano seismology
  • Volcano/climate interactions
  • Water cycles

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