Infoscience

Journal article

Spatial characterization of catchment dispersion mechanisms in an urban context

Previous studies have examined in-depth the dispersion mechanisms in natural catchments. In contrast, these dispersion mechanisms have been studied little in urban catchments, where artificial transport elements and morphological arrangements are expected to modify travel times and mobilize excess rainfall from spatially distributed impervious sites. This has the ability to modify the variance of the catchment's travel times and hence the total dispersion. This work quantifies the dispersion mechanisms in an urban catchment using the theory of transport by travel times as represented by the Urban Morpho-climatic Instantaneous Unit Hydrograph (U-McIUH) model. The U-McIUH computes travel times based on kinematic wave theory and accounts explicitly for the path heterogeneities and altered connectivity patterns characteristic of an urban drainage network. The analysis is illustrated using the Aubiniere urban catchment in France as a case study. We found that kinematic dispersion is dominant for small rainfall intensities, whereas geomorphologic dispersion becomes more dominant for larger intensities. The total dispersion scales with the drainage area in a power law fashion. The kinematic dispersion is dominant across spatial scales up to a threshold of approximately 2-3 km(2), after which the geomorphologic dispersion becomes more dominant. Overall, overland flow is responsible for most of the dispersion in the catchment, while conduits tend to counteract the increase of the geomorphologic dispersion with a negative kinematic dispersion. Further study with other catchments is needed to asses if the latter is a general feature of urban drainage networks. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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