Modeling of Soil Water Distribution in a Small Mid-Latitude Watershed on the British Isle for Short Term Landslide and Flood Risk Assessment




R-TopModel, Hydrometeorological hazards, Carsington Water-UK


The R-TopModel hydrological model coupled with two landslide and flood probability distribution models was applied to simulate the daily hydrological conditions of a small catchment in the Midlands of the British Isles, throughout 2017. Originally, the methodology was applied to a risk area in the tropical region. In this work, the application was extended to mid-latitude watersheds. The hydrographic basin around the Carsington Water dam (located in the Midlands of the Great Britain) is chosen because it presents risks. The model Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency for the upstream discharge from the Carsington Water dam reached 50% with a correlation coefficient of the order of 70%, an acceptable value considering the seasonal effects of the dam on evapotranspiration and higher soil permeability. Modeling the distribution of soil moisture and excess surface water allowed obtaining the spatial distribution of the maximum conditional probability of landslides and floods in the Carsington Water catchment. These probability maps obtained are consistent with long-term susceptibility maps for Great Britain.

Author Biography

Cesar Arturo Sanchez Peña, National Institute for Space Research, INPE, São José dos Campos-SP, Brazil.


Bevans, R. 2022, ANOVA in R - A Complete Step-by-Step Guide with Examples, Scribbr, viewed 26 May 2023, <>.

Beven, K. & Wood, E.F. 1983, 'Catchment geomorphology and the dynamics of runoff contributing areas', Journal of Hydrology, vol. 65, no. 1-3, pp. 139-58, DOI:10.1016/0022-1694(83)90214-7.

Beven, K.J. & Kirkby, M.J. 1979, 'A physically based, variable contributing area model of basin hydrology', Hydrological Sciences Bulletin, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 43-69, DOI:10.1080/02626667909491834.

Beven, K.J., M.J. Kirkby, J.E. & Freer, R.L. 2021, 'A history of TopModel', Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 527-49, DOI:10.5194/hess-25-527-2021.

Burt, S. 2010, 'British rainfall 1860–1993', Weather, vol. 65, no. 5, pp. 121-8, DOI:10.1002/wea.603.

Buytaert, W. 2022, TopModel: Implementation of the Hydrological Model TopModel, R. Library R-TopModel, viewed 26 May 2023, <>.

Chambers, J.M., Freeny, A. & Heiberger, R.M. 2017, 'Analysis of variance; designed experiments', in S.J.M. Chambers & T.J. Hastie (eds), Statistical models, Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole, Pacific Grove, pp. 145-93.

Coelho Netto, A.L. 1996, 'Produção de Sedimentos em Bacias Fluviais Florestadas do Maciço da Tijuca, RJ: respostas aos eventos extremos de fevereiro de 1996', paper presented at Proceedings of II Encontro Nacional de Engenharia de Sedimentos, vol. 1, pp. 209-17.

D’Orsi, R.N., Feijo, L. & Paes, N.M. 2002, Relatório de escorregamentos, Fundação Geo-Rio Report, Rio de Janeiro.

Danielson, J.J. & Gesch, D.B. 2011, Global multi-resolution terrain elevation data 2010 (GMTED2010), U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1073, 34 p, viewed 26 May 2023, <>.

De Blasio, F.V. 2011, Introduction to the physics of landslides: Lecture notes on the dynamics of mass wasting, Springer Science & Business Media.

Deardorff, J.W. 1978, 'Efficient prediction of ground surface temperature and moisture, with the inclusion of a layer of vegetation', Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, vol. 83, no. C4, pp. 1889-903, DOI:10.1029/JC083iC04p01889.

Devia, G.K., Ganasri, B.P. & Dwarakish, G.S. 2015, 'A review on hydrological models', Aquatic Procedia, vol. 4, pp. 1001-7, DOI:10.1016/j.aqpro.2015.02.126.

D'Orsi, R.N. 2016, Lecture about GeoRio Fundation, AlertaRio System of the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro-RJ, Brazil, 85 slides.

D'Orsi, R.N., Feijo, R.L. & Paes, N.M. 2004, '2,500 operational days of Alerta Rio system: History and technical improvements of Rio de Janeiro warning system for severe weather', in W. Lacerda, M. Ehrlich, S.A.B. Fontoura & A.S.F. Sayao (eds), Landslides: Evaluation and stabilization, Taylor & Francis Group, London, pp. 831-6.

ED-UK 2023, Henmore Brook Catch (trib of R Dove), Departament for Environment Food & Rural Affairs-UK, viewed 26 May 2023, <>.

Environment Agency-UK 2023, Flood warnings, river levels and flood risk maps, UK, viewed 26 May 2023, <>.

Froude, M.J. & Petley, D.N. 2018, 'Global fatal landslide occurrence from 2004 to 2016', Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, vol. 18, no. 8, pp. 2161-81, DOI:10.5194/nhess-18-2161-2018.

Gomez, H. & Kavzoglu, T. 2005, 'Assessment of shallow landslide susceptibility using artificial neural networks in Jabonosa River Basin, Venezuela', Engineering Geology, vol. 78, no. 1-2, pp. 11-27, DOI:10.1016/j.enggeo.2004.10.004.

INEA-RJ – Instituto Estadual do Ambiente 2023, State Institute of the Environment of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Karam, H.A. 2014, 'Modelagem da distribuição da saturação de água do solo em terrenos complexos baseada na teoria de similaridade – proposição de abordagem lagrangiana', Anuário do Instituto de Geociências, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 139-50, DOI:10.11137/2014_2_139_150.

Karam, H.A., Pereira Filho, A.J. & Flores Rojas, J.L. 2017, 'On the precipitation homogeneity hypothesis in the TopModel applications', Revista Brasileira de Cartografia, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 13-22, DOI:10.14393/rbcv69n1-44028.

Keller, V.D.J., Tanguy, M., Prosdocimi, I., Terry, J.A., Hitt, O., Cole, S.J., Fry, M., Morris, D.G. & Dixon, H. 2015, 'CEH-GEAR: 1 km resolution daily and monthly areal rainfall estimates for the UK for hydrological and other applications', Earth System Science Data, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 143-55, DOI:10.5194/essd-7-143-2015.

Lane, S.N., Brookes, C.J., Kirkby, A.J. & Holden, J. 2004, 'A network‐index‐based version of TopModel for use with high‐resolution digital topographic data', Hydrological Processes, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 191-201, DOI:10.1002/hyp.5208.

Marsh, T.J. & Hannaford, J. (eds) 2008, UK hydrometric register, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

Marthews, T.R., Dadson, S.J., Lehner, B., Abele, S. & Gedney, N. 2015, 'High-resolution global topographic index values for use in large-scale hydrological modelling', Hydrology Earth System Sciences, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 91-104, DOI:10.5194/hess-19-91-2015.

Metcalfe, P., Beven, K. & Freer, J. 2015, 'Dynamic TOPMODEL: A new implementation in R and its sensitivity to time and space steps', Environmental Modelling & Software, vol. 72, pp. 155-72, DOI:10.1016/j.envsoft.2015.06.010.

National Landslide Database 2023, British Geological Survey, BGS Research, United Kingdom, viewed 26 May 2023, <>.

Ordnance Survey 2017, OS TERRAIN 50 User guide and technical specification v1.3, UK digital topography source, Crown Publ., 33 p., viewed 26 May 2023, <>.

Peña, A.C.S. 2018, 'Desenvolvimento de um modelo numérico para a avaliação de riscos naturais associados à precipitação na RMRJ', Master thesis, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro.

Preti, F. & Letterio, T. 2015, 'Shallow landslide susceptibility assessment in a data-poor region of Guatemala (Comitancillo municipality)', Journal of Agricultural Engineering, vol. 46, no. 3, pp. 85-94, DOI:10.4081/jae.2015.450.

Scofield, R.A. & Kuligowski, R.J. 2003, 'Status and outlook of operational satellite precipitation algorithms for extreme-precipitation events', Monthly Weather Review, vol. 18, pp. 1037-51, DOI:10.1175/1520-0434(2003)018<1037:SAOOOS>2.0.CO;2.

Scofield, R.A. 1987, 'The NESDIS operational convective precipitation estimation technique', Monthly Weather Review, vol. 115, pp. 1773-92, DOI:10.1175/1520-0493(1987)115<1773:tnocpe>;2.

Sellers, W.D. 1960, Physical climatology, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Siqueira, B.S. 2017, 'Investigação do papel da precipitação para análise de risco de deslizamentos de encostas', Master thesis, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro.

Tatizana, C., Ogura, A.T., Cerri, L.E.S. & Rocha, M.C.M. 1987a, 'Análise da correlação entre chuvas e escorregamentos na Serra do Mar, município de Cubatão', paper presented at Proceedings of the 5th Congresso Brasileiro de Geologia de Engenharia, São Paulo, vol. 2, pp. 225-36.

Tatizana, C., Ogura, A.T., Cerri, L.E.S. & Rocha, M.C.M. 1987b, 'Modelamento numérico da análise de correlação entre chuvas e escorregamentos aplicado às encostas da Serra do Mar no município de Cubatão', paper presented at Proceedings of Congresso Brasileiro de Geologia de Engenharia (5th), São Paulo, vol. 2, pp. 237-48.

Tukey, J.W. 1949, 'One degree freedom for non-additivity', Biometrics, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 232-42, DOI:10.2307/3001938.

Tukey, J.W. 1962, 'The Future of Data Analysis', The Annals of Mathematical Statistics, Institute of Mathematical Statistics Stable, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 1-67.

UK Flooding Maps 2023, Check the long term flood risk for an area in England, Environment and Countryside Flooding and Extreme Weather (UK post area: Water Rail Carsington Water Ashbourne DE6 1ST), viewed 26 May 2023, <>.

Vicente, G.A., Scofield, R.A. & Menzel W.P. 1998, 'The operational GOES infrared rainfall estimation technique', Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 79, no. 9, pp. 1883-98.

Wilks, D. 2019, Statistical methods in the atmospheric sciences, 4th edn, Elsevier.

Williams, G.P. 1978, Hydraulic geometry of river cross-sections: Theory of minimum variance, vol. 1029, Department of the Interior, Geological Survey, Washington, D.C.

WWRP/WGNE 2017, 'Forecast verification methods across time and space scales of the joint working group on forecast verification research', paper presented at 7th International Verification Methods Workshop, Berlin, Germany.