2005 – The Extremes of Tropical Hydrology

Peter Hill, Kristen Sih, Rory Nathan, Phillip Jordan

This paper presents a number of innovative hydrologic investigations undertaken for the recent detailed design of upgrades for Ross River Dam in North Queensland. A key issue for estimating extreme floods in the tropics is the estimation of flood events of long critical durations. The implication is that there is an increased focus on estimating the correct volume (not only the peakflow). This paper describes the regional analysis of flow volumes that was used to validate the estimated flood volumes.

Another issue of considerable importance is the assumed relationship between inflows and initial reservoir level. The analyses described in this paper showed that inflows are independent of reservoir levels for the more frequent events but for more extreme events they are correlated. This has important implication on how the initial reservoir level is incorporated in the hydrologic analysis. The final aspect covered by the paper is the derivation of seasonal flood frequency curves. This is particularly important given the highly seasonal nature of rainfalls in the tropics and the results are important for assessing risks during construction and scheduling the upgrade works

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