The capability of a GPU-parallelized numerical scheme to perform accurate and fast simulations of surface runo in watersheds, exploiting high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs), was investigated. The numerical computations were carried out by using an explicit finite volume numerical scheme and adopting a recent type of grid called Block-Uniform Quadtree (BUQ), capable of exploiting the computational power of GPUs with negligible overhead. Moreover, stability and zero mass error were ensured, even in the presence of very shallow water depth, by introducing a proper reconstruction of conserved variables at cell interfaces, a specific formulation of the slope source term and an explicit discretization of the friction source term. The 2D shallow water model was tested against two dierent literature tests and a real event that recently occurred in Italy for which field data is available. The influence of the spatial resolution adopted in dierent portions of the domain was also investigated for the last test. The achieved low ratio of simulation to physical times, in some cases less than 1:20, opens new perspectives for flood management strategies. Based on the result of such models, emergency plans can be designed in order to achieve a significant reduction in the economic losses generated by flood events.
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