30 May 2024
 | 30 May 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Investigation of Different Roughness Approaches and Vegetation Height Effects on rain-induced overland flow

Azam Masoodi and Philipp Kraft

Abstract. Overland flow is a critical aspect of the hydrological cycle, and understanding its dynamics is crucial for managing water-related issues such as flooding and soil erosion. This paper investigates the impact of various roughness estimation methods on simulating overland flow during intense rain events, with a specific focus on the influence of vegetation. The study assesses various approaches to vary roughness as a function of water sheet thickness and vegetation height, including two different constant Manning's coefficients, a linear approach, an exponential function, a power law function, an empirical formula, and a physics-based approach. The investigation emphasizes the importance of accurate roughness estimation for improving the reliability of hydrological models and enhancing flood prediction capabilities. Experimental data from artificial rainfall experiments on 22 different natural hillslopes in Germany are used to calibrate the OpenLISEM hydrological model, adjusting parameters such as saturated hydraulic conductivity and soil suction at the wetting front. Subsequently, various Manning's coefficient estimation methods are applied, and the model's performance is evaluated numerically.

Preliminary results indicate satisfactory calibration outcomes, with NSE values ranging from 0.75 to 0.95 in most cases for various sites. To validate the models, 100 different experimental rainfall events are used for each roughness method. Validation findings suggest that the physics-based approach, the linear function, and constant Manning roughness, demonstrate the best performance based on NSE values. According to our results, areas with more vegetation coverage demonstrate higher saturated hydraulic conductivity value, indicating that, for two sites with the same soil type, the locations with dense vegetation exhibit higher infiltration parameters. Consequently, it is crucial to evaluate the influence of vegetation on runoff, considering not only its effects on Manning's coefficient but also on saturated hydraulic conductivity.

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Azam Masoodi and Philipp Kraft

Status: open (until 25 Jul 2024)

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Azam Masoodi and Philipp Kraft

Model code and software

modified_manning_console Philipp Kraft

Azam Masoodi and Philipp Kraft


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Short summary
Our research delves into how vegetation affects water flow over land during heavy rain and how accurately we can predict it. We tested various ways of estimating surface roughness in hydrological models, using data from simulated rainfall on hillslopes in Germany. Using advanced modeling techniques, we found that certain approaches, those considering vegetation, perform better in simulating overland flow dynamics.