Rainfall and water yield in Macizo del Caroig, Eastern Iberian Peninsula. Event runoff at plot scale during a rare flash flood at the Barranco de Benacancil

Artemi Cerdà, Agata Novara, Pavel Dlapa, Manuel López-Vicente, Xavier Úbeda, Zorica Popović, Mulatie Mekonnen, Enric Terol, Saeid Janizadeh, Sonia Mbarki, Eduardo Saldanha-Vogelmann, Sajjad Hazrati, Srikanta Sannigrahi, Misagh Parhizkar, Antonio Giménez-Morera


Floods are a consequence of extreme rainfall events. Although surface runoff generation is the origin of discharge, flood research usually focuses on lowlands where the impact is higher. Runoff and sediment delivery at slope and pedon scale receiving much less attention in the effort to understand flood behaviour in time and space. This is especially relevant in areas where, due to climatic and hydrogeological conditions, streams are ephemeral, so-called dry rivers (“wadis”, "ramblas" or “barrancos”) that are widespread throughout the Mediterranean. This paper researches the relationship between water delivery at pedon and slope scale with dry river floods in Macizo del Caroig, Eastern Iberian Peninsula. Plots of 1x1, 1x2, 1x4, and 2x8 m located in the “El Teularet” Soil Erosion and Degradation Research Station were monitored from 2004 to 2014 to measure soil and water delivery. Rainfall and flow at the dry river Barranco de Benacancil were also monitored. Results show that runoff and sediment discharge were concentrated in few events during the 11 years of research. A single flood event was registered in the channel on September 28, 2009, however, the runoff was registered 160 times at the plots. Runoff discharge was dependent on the size of the plots, with larger plots yielding lower runoff discharge per unit area, suggesting short runoff-travel distance and duration. Three rainfall events contributed with 26% of the whole runoff discharge, and five achieved 56% of the runoff. We conclude that the runoff generated at the plot scale is disconnected from the main channel. From a spatial point of view, there is a decrease in runoff coefficient along the slope. From a temporal point of view, the runoff is concentrated in a few rainfall events. These results show that the runoff generated at plot and slope scale does not contribute to the floods except for rainfall events with more than 100 mm day-1. The disconnection of the runoff and sediment delivery is confirmed by the reduction in the runoff delivery at plot scale due to the control of the length of the plot (slope) on the runoff and sediment delivery.


Runoff; sediments, rainfall; extreme events; dry rivers; ephemeral floods

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18172/cig.4833

Copyright (c) 2021 Artemi Cerdà, Agata Novara, Pavel Dlapa, Manuel López-Vicente, Xavier Úbeda, Zorica Popović, Mulatie Mekonnen, Enric Terol, Saeid Janizadeh, Sonia Mbarki, Eduardo Saldanha-Vogelmann, Sajjad Hazrati, Srikanta Sannigrahi, Misagh Parhizkar, Antonio Giménez-Morera

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