Tropical cyclone effects on rapid runoff responses: quantifying with new continuous-time transfer function models

Nick A. Chappell, Mike Bonell, Chris Barnes, Wlodek Tych

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


    The South Creek Experimental Catchment (Queensland, Australia) was the first forest hydrological study established within cyclone-affected areas of the humid tropics to address runoff processes or surface–groundwater interactions. From the outset it was believed that the very flashy nature of the responses within this
    area of Queensland was at least partly attributed to rainfall characteristics associated with tropical cyclones. This study quantifies the impact on the dynamic response characteristics of very flashy streamflow responses to
    rainfall from a sequence of tropical cyclones relative to those associated with local convective events. To achieve this we have applied state-of-the-art time-series modelling methods to South Creek data and to that from a basin not directly affected by tropical cyclones but where the soils and slopes are comparable. For both data sets our analyses best captured the rainfall–runoff responses with second-order continuous-time transfer functions where 60% of the streamflow was associated with a fast pathway. While the recession time constant (TC) of this fast pathway was 75 minutes for the basin with rainstorms produced by local convective events (namely the Baru Experimental Catchment in Malaysian Borneo), the TC was only 21 minutes at South Creek. With an identical model structure and an identical value describing the rainfall–runoff nonlinearity, this shows quantitatively that for a unit rainfall input (sampled on a sub-hourly basis), the basin affected by tropical cyclones produced flashier stream responses in comparison to that only affected by localised tropical
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRevisiting Experimental Catchment Studies in Forest Hydrology
    Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of a Workshop held during the XXV IUGG General Assembly in Melbourne, June–July 2011
    EditorsAshley A. Webb, Mike Bonell, Leon Bren, Patrick N.J. Lane, Don McGuire, Daniel G. Neary, Jami Nettles, David F. Scott, John Stednick, Yanhui Wang
    Place of PublicationWallingford
    PublisherInternational Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS)
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Print)9781907161315
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Publication series

    NameIAHS Publication


    • continuous-time model
    • data-based mechanistic model
    • experimental attachment
    • surface-groundwater interactions
    • tropical cyclone


    Dive into the research topics of 'Tropical cyclone effects on rapid runoff responses: quantifying with new continuous-time transfer function models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this