On the role of atmospheric simulations horizontal grid spacing for flood modeling

Felipe Quintero, Gabriele Villarini, Andreas F. Prein, Witold F. Krajewski, Wei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Our study focuses on the hydrologic implications of resolving and modeling atmospheric processes at different spatial scales. Here we use heavy precipitation events from an atmospheric model that was run at different horizontal grid spacings (i.e., 250 m, 500 m, 1 km, 2 km 4 km, and 12 km) and able to resolve different processes. Within an idealized simulation framework, these rainfall events are used as input to an operational distributed hydrologic model to evaluate the sensitivity of the hydrologic response to different forcing grid spacings. We consider the finest scale (i.e., 250 m) as reference, and compute event peak flows and volumes across a wide range of basin sizes. We find that the use of increasingly-coarser inputs leads to changes in the distribution of event peak flows and volumes, with the strongest sensitivity at the smallest catchment sizes. Our results show the compromise between computational cost and hydrologic performance, providing basic information for future endeavors geared towards regional downscaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3167-3174
Number of pages8
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Hydrology
  • Peak flows
  • Precipitation
  • Resolution


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