The role of spatial and temporal model resolution in a flood event storyline approach in western Norway

Nathalie Schaller*, Jana Sillmann, Malte Müller, Reindert Haarsma, Wilco Hazeleger, Trine Jahr Hegdahl, Timo Kelder, Gijs van den Oord, Albrecht Weerts, Kirien Whan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


We apply a physical climate storyline approach to an autumn flood event in the West Coast of Norway caused by an atmospheric river to demonstrate the value and challenges of higher spatial and temporal resolution in simulating flood impacts. We use a modelling chain whose outputs are familiar and used operationally, for example to issue flood warnings. With two different versions of a hydrological model, we show that (1) the higher spatial resolution between the global and regional climate model is necessary to realistically simulate the high spatial variability of precipitation in this mountainous region and (2) only with hourly data are we able to capture the fast flood-generating processes leading to the peak streamflow. The higher resolution regional atmospheric model captures the fact that with the passage of an atmospheric river, some valleys receive high amounts of precipitation and others not, while the coarser resolution global model shows uniform precipitation in the whole region. Translating the event into the future leads to similar results: while in some catchments, a future flood might be much larger than a present one, in others no event occurs as the atmospheric river simply does not hit that catchment. The use of an operational flood warning system for future events is expected to facilitate stakeholder engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100259
JournalWeather and Climate Extremes
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Atmospheric river
  • Climate change
  • Dynamical downscaling
  • EC-Earth
  • Extreme precipitation
  • Flood
  • Storyline approach
  • Western Norway


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