Infrastructure Engineering - Research Publications

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    Improving operational flood ensemble prediction by the assimilation of satellite soil moisture: comparison between lumped and semi-distributed schemes
    Alvarez-Garreton, C ; Ryu, D ; Western, AW ; Su, C-H ; Crow, WT ; Robertson, DE ; Leahy, C ( 2014-09-23)
    Abstract. Assimilation of remotely sensed soil moisture data (SM–DA) to correct soil water stores of rainfall-runoff models has shown skill in improving streamflow prediction. In the case of large and sparsely monitored catchments, SM–DA is a particularly attractive tool. Within this context, we assimilate active and passive satellite soil moisture (SSM) retrievals using an ensemble Kalman filter to improve operational flood prediction within a large semi-arid catchment in Australia (>40 000 km2). We assess the importance of accounting for channel routing and the spatial distribution of forcing data by applying SM–DA to a lumped and a semi-distributed scheme of the probability distributed model (PDM). Our scheme also accounts for model error representation and seasonal biases and errors in the satellite data. Before assimilation, the semi-distributed model provided more accurate streamflow prediction (Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency, NS = 0.77) than the lumped model (NS = 0.67) at the catchment outlet. However, this did not ensure good performance at the "ungauged" inner catchments. After SM–DA, the streamflow ensemble prediction at the outlet was improved in both the lumped and the semi-distributed schemes: the root mean square error of the ensemble was reduced by 27 and 31%, respectively; the NS of the ensemble mean increased by 7 and 38%, respectively; the false alarm ratio was reduced by 15 and 25%, respectively; and the ensemble prediction spread was reduced while its reliability was maintained. Our findings imply that even when rainfall is the main driver of flooding in semi-arid catchments, adequately processed SSM can be used to reduce errors in the model soil moisture, which in turn provides better streamflow ensemble prediction. We demonstrate that SM–DA efficacy is enhanced when the spatial distribution in forcing data and routing processes are accounted for. At ungauged locations, SM–DA is effective at improving streamflow ensemble prediction, however, the updated prediction is still poor since SM–DA does not address systematic errors in the model.
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    A predictive model for spatio-temporal variability in stream water quality
    Guo, D ; Lintern, A ; Webb, JA ; Ryu, D ; Bende-Michl, U ; Liu, S ; Western, AW ( 2019-07-23)
    Abstract. Degraded water quality in rivers and streams can have large economic, societal and ecological impacts. Stream water quality can be highly variable both over space and time. To develop effective management strategies for riverine water quality, it is critical to be able to predict these spatio-temporal variabilities. However, our current capacity to model stream water quality is limited, particularly at large spatial scales across multiple catchments. This is due to a lack of understanding of the key controls that drive spatio-temporal variabilities of stream water quality. To address this, we developed a Bayesian hierarchical statistical model to analyse the spatio-temporal variability in stream water quality across the state of Victoria, Australia. The model was developed based on monthly water quality monitoring data collected at 102 sites over 21 years. The modelling focused on six key water quality constituents: total suspended solids (TSS), total phosphorus (TP), filterable reactive phosphorus (FRP), total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), nitrate-nitrite (NOx), and electrical conductivity (EC). Among the six constituents, the models explained varying proportions of variation in water quality. EC was the most predictable constituent (88.6 % variability explained) and FRP had the lowest predictive performance (19.9 % variability explained). The models were validated for multiple sets of calibration/validation sites and showed robust performance. Temporal validation revealed a systematic change in the TSS model performance across most catchments since an extended drought period in the study region, highlighting potential shifts in TSS dynamics over the drought. Further improvements in model performance need to focus on: (1) alternative statistical model structures to improve fitting for the low concentration data, especially records below the detection limit; and (2) better representation of non-conservative constituents by accounting for important biogeochemical processes. We also recommend future improvements in water quality monitoring programs which can potentially enhance the model capacity, via: (1) improving the monitoring and assimilation of high-frequency water quality data; and (2) improving the availability of data to capture land use and management changes over time.
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    A Bayesian approach to understanding the key factors influencing temporal variability in stream water quality: a case study in the Great Barrier Reef catchments
    Liu, S ; Ryu, D ; Webb, JA ; Lintern, A ; Guo, D ; Waters, D ; Western, AW ( 2021-01-12)
    Abstract. Stream water quality is highly variable both across space and time. Water quality monitoring programs have collected a large amount of data that provide a good basis to investigate the key drivers of spatial and temporal variability. Event-based water quality monitoring data in the Great Barrier Reef catchments in northern Australia provides an opportunity to further our understanding of water quality dynamics in sub-tropical and tropical regions. This study investigated nine water quality constituents, including sediments, nutrients and salinity, with the aim of: 1) identifying the influential environmental drivers of temporal variation in flow event concentrations; and 2) developing a modelling framework to predict the temporal variation in water quality at multiple sites simultaneously. This study used a hierarchical Bayesian model averaging framework to explore the relationship between event concentration and catchment-scale environmental variables (e.g., runoff, rainfall and groundcover conditions). Key factors affecting the temporal changes in water quality varied among constituent concentrations, as well as between catchments. Catchment rainfall and runoff affected in-stream particulate constituents, while catchment wetness and vegetation cover had more impact on dissolved nutrient concentration and salinity. In addition, in large dry catchments, antecedent catchment soil moisture and vegetation had a large influence on dissolved nutrients, which highlights the important effect of catchment hydrological connectivity on pollutant mobilisation and delivery.
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    Explaining changes in rainfall-runoff relationships during and after Australia's Millennium Drought: a community perspective
    Fowler, K ; Peel, M ; Saft, M ; Peterson, T ; Western, A ; Band, L ; Petheram, C ; Dharmadi, S ; Tan, KS ; Zhang, L ; Lane, P ; Kiem, A ; Marshall, L ; Griebel, A ; Medlyn, B ; Ryu, D ; Bonotto, G ; Wasko, C ; Ukkola, A ; Stephens, C ; Frost, A ; Weligamage, H ; Saco, P ; Zheng, H ; Chiew, F ; Daly, E ; Walker, G ; Vervoort, RW ; Hughes, J ; Trotter, L ; Neal, B ; Cartwright, I ; Nathan, R ( 2022-04-20)
    The Millennium Drought lasted more than a decade, and is notable for causing persistent shifts in the relationship between rainfall and runoff in many south-east Australian catchments. Research to date has successfully characterised where and when shifts occurred and explored relationships with potential drivers, but a convincing physical explanation for observed changes in catchment behaviour is still lacking. Originating from a large multi-disciplinary workshop, this paper presents a range of possible process explanations of flow response, and then evaluates these hypotheses against available evidence. The hypotheses consider climatic forcing, vegetation, soil moisture dynamics, groundwater, and anthropogenic influence. The hypotheses are assessed against evidence both temporally (eg. why was the Millennium Drought different to previous droughts?) and spatially (eg. why did rainfall-runoff relationships shift in some catchments but not in others?). The results point to the unprecedented length of the drought as the primary climatic driver, paired with interrelated groundwater processes, including: declines in groundwater storage, reduced recharge associated with vadose zone expansion, and reduced connection between subsurface and surface water processes. Other causes include increased evaporative demand and interception of runoff by small private dams. Finally, we discuss the need for long-term field monitoring, particularly targeting internal catchment processes and subsurface dynamics. We recommend continued investment in understanding of hydrological shifts, particularly given their relevance to water planning under climate variability and change.
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    A multi-model approach to assessing the impacts of catchment characteristics on spatial water quality in the Great Barrier Reef catchments
    Liu, S ; Ryu, D ; Webb, JA ; Lintern, A ; Guo, D ; Waters, D ; Western, AW (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2021-05-14)
    Water quality monitoring programs often collect large amounts of data with limited attention given to the assessment of the dominant drivers of spatial and temporal water quality variations at the catchment scale. This study uses a multi-model approach: a) to identify the influential catchment characteristics affecting spatial variability in water quality; and b) to predict spatial variability in water quality more reliably and robustly. Tropical catchments in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) area, Australia, were used as a case study. We developed statistical models using 58 catchment characteristics to predict the spatial variability in water quality in 32 GBR catchments. An exhaustive search method coupled with multi-model inference approaches were used to identify important catchment characteristics and predict the spatial variation in water quality across catchments. Bootstrapping and cross-validation approaches were used to assess the uncertainty in identified important factors and robustness of multi-model structure, respectively. The results indicate that water quality variables were generally most influenced by the natural characteristics of catchments (e.g., soil type and annual rainfall), while anthropogenic characteristics (i.e., land use) also showed significant influence on dissolved nutrient species (e.g., NOX, NH4 and FRP). The multi-model structures developed in this work were able to predict average event-mean concentration well, with Nash-Sutcliffe coefficient ranging from 0.68 to 0.96. This work provides data-driven evidence for catchment managers, which can help them develop effective water quality management strategies.
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    Cover Image, Volume 8, Issue 2
    Kattel, G ; Reeves, J ; Western, A ; Zhang, W ; Jing, W ; McGowan, S ; Cuo, L ; Scales, P ; Dowling, K ; He, Q ; Wang, L ; Capon, S ; Pan, Z ; Cui, J ; Zhang, L ; Xiao, L ; Liu, C ; Zhang, K ; Gao, C ; Tian, Z ; Liu, Y (Wiley, 2021-03)
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    Using short-term ensemble weather forecast to evaluate outcomes of irrigation
    Guo, D ; Western, A ; Wang, Q ; Ryu, D ; Moller, P ; Aughton, D ( 2021-03-03)
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    Improving the representation of cropland sites in the Community Land Model (CLM) version 5.0
    Boas, T ; Bogena, H ; Grünwald, T ; Heinesch, B ; Ryu, D ; Schmidt, M ; Vereecken, H ; Western, A ; Hendricks-Franssen, H-J ( 2021-03-04)