Hydrological Model Application in the Sirba River: Early Warning System and GloFAS Improvements

Giulio Passerotti, Giovanni Massazza, Alessandro Pezzoli, Velia Bigi, Ervin Zsótér, and Maurizio Rosso
Published in: Water 2020, 12, 620; doi:10.3390/w12030620
Date: February 25, 2020

In the last decades, the Sahelian area was hit by an increase of flood events, both in frequency and in magnitude. In order to prevent damages, an early warning system (EWS) has been planned for the Sirba River, the major tributary of the Middle Niger River Basin. The EWS uses the prior notification of the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) to realize adaptive measures in the exposed villages. This study analyzed the performances of GloFAS 1.0 and 2.0 at Garbey Kourou. The model verification was performed using continuous and categorical indices computed according to the historical flow series and the flow hazard thresholds. The unsatisfactory reliability of the original forecasts suggested the performing of optimization to improve the model performances. Therefore, datasets were divided into two periods, 5 years for training and 5 years for validation, and optimization was conducted applying a linear regression throughout the homogeneous periods of the wet season. The results show that the optimization improved the performances of GloFAS 1.0 and decreased the forecast deficit of GloFAS 2.0. Moreover, it highlighted the fundamental role played by the hazard thresholds in the model evaluation. The optimized GloFAS 2.0 demonstrated performance acceptable in order to be applied in an EWS.