OJMH  Vol.3 No.2 , April 2013
Weather Radar Data and Distributed Hydrological Modelling: An Application for Mexico Valley
Abstract
The frequent occurrence of exceptionally very heavy rainfall in Mexico during the summer causes flash floods in many areas and major economic losses. As a consequence, a significant part of the annual government budget is diverted to the reconstruction of the disasters caused by floods every year, resulting hold up in the country development. A key element to mitigate the flash flood hazards is the implementation of an early warning system with the ability to process the necessary information in the shortest possible time, in order to increase structural and non-structural resilience in flood prone regions. The real-time estimation of rainfall is essential for the implementation of such systems and the use of remote sensing instruments that feed the operational rainfall-runoff hydrological models is becoming of increasing importance worldwide. However, in some countries such as Mexico, the application of such technology for operational purposes is still in its infancy. Here the implementation of an operational hydrological model is described for the Mixcoac river basin as part of the non-structural measures that can be applied for intense precipitation events. The main goal is to examine the feasibility of the use of remote sensing instruments and establish a methodology to predict the runoff in real time in urban river basins with complex topography, to increase the resilience of the areas affected by annual floods. The study takes data from weather radar operated by the National Meteorological Service of Mexico, as input to a distributed hydrological model. The distributed unit hydrograph model methodology is used in order to assess its feasibility in urban experimental basin. The basic concepts underlying the model, as well as calibration and validation are discussed. The results demonstrate the feasibility of using weather radar data for modeling rainfall-runoff process with distributed parameter models for urban watersheds. A product resulting from this study was the development of software Runoff Forecast Model (ASM), for application in distributed hydrological models with rainfall data in real time in watersheds with complex terrain, which are usually found in Mexico.

Cite this paper
B. Méndez-Antonio, E. Caetano, G. Soto-Cortés, F. Rivera-Trejo, R. Carvajal Rodríguez and C. Watts, "Weather Radar Data and Distributed Hydrological Modelling: An Application for Mexico Valley," Open Journal of Modern Hydrology, Vol. 3 No. 2, 2013, pp. 79-88. doi: 10.4236/ojmh.2013.32011.
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