The influence of rainfall time resolution for urban water quality modelling

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The objective of this paper is the definition of a methodology to evaluate the impact of the temporal resolution of rainfall measurements in urban drainage modelling applications. More specifically the effect of the temporal resolution on urban water quality modelling is detected analysing the uncertainty of the response of rainfall–runoff modelling. Analyses have been carried out using historical rainfall–discharge data collected for the Fossolo catchment (Bologna, Italy). According to the methodology, the historical rainfall data are taken as a reference, and resampled data have been obtained through a rescaling procedure with variable temporal windows. The shape comparison between ‘true’ and rescaled rainfall data has been carried out using a non-dimensional accuracy index. Monte Carlo simulations have been carried out applying a parsimonious urban water quality model, using the recorded data and the resampled events. The results of the simulations were used to derive the cumulative probabilities of quantity and quality model outputs (peak discharges, flow volume, peak concentrations and pollutant mass) conditioned on the observation according to the GLUE (Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation) methodology. The results showed that when coarser rainfall information is available, the model calibration process is still efficient even if modelling uncertainty progressively increases especially with regards to water quality aspects.

Keywords: GLUE, rainfall temporal resolution, uncertainty assessment, urban stormwater quality modelling

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