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Using micro-catchment experiments for multi-local scale modelling of nature-based solutions

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Article numbere14418
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>18/11/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Hydrol. Processes
Issue number11
Number of pages17
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Abstract The Q-natural flood management project has co-developed with the Environment Agency 18 monitored micro-catchments (~1?km2) in Cumbria, UK installing calibrated flumes aimed at quantifying the potential shift in observed flows resulting from a range of nature-based-solutions installed by local organizations. The small-scale reduces the influence of variability characterizing larger catchments that would otherwise mask any such shifts, which we attempt to relate to a shift in model parameters. This paper demonstrates an approach to applying donor-parameter-shifts obtained from modelling two of the paired micro-catchments to a much larger scale, in order to understand the potential for improved distributed modelling of nature-based solutions in the form of additional tree-planting. The models include a rainfall-runoff model, Dynamic Topmodel, and a 2D hydrodynamic model, JFlow, permitting analysis of changes in hillslope processes and channel hydrodynamics resulting from a range of distributed measures designed to emulate natural hydrological processes that evaporate, store or infiltrate flows. We report on attempts to detect shift in hydrological response using one of the paired-micro-catchment moorland versus forestry sites in Lorton using Dynamic Topmodel. A donor-parameter-shift approach is used in a hypothetical experiment to represent new woodland in a much larger catchment, although testing all combinations of spatial planting strategies, responses to multiple-extremes, failure-modes and changes to synchronization becomes intractable to support good decision making. We argue that the problem can be re-framed to use donor-parameter-shifts at multi-local-scale catchments above communities known to be at risk, commensurate with most of the evidence of NbS impacts being effective at the small scale (ca. 10?km2). This might lead to more effective modelling to help catchment managers prioritize those communities-at-risk where there is more evidence that NbS might be effective.