A distributed monthly hydrological model for integrating spatial variations of basin topography and rainfall
2007 (English)In: Hydrological Processes, ISSN 0885-6087, E-ISSN 1099-1085, Vol. 21, no 2, 242-252 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Hydrological models at a monthly time-scale are important tools for hydrological analysis, such as in impact assessment of climate change and regional water resources planning. Traditionally, monthly models adopt a conceptual, lumped-parameter approach and cannot account for spatial variations of basin characteristics and climatic inputs. A large requirement for data often severely limits the utility of physically based, distributed-parameter models. Based on the variable-source-area concept, we considered basin topography and rainfall to be two major factors whose spatial variations play a dominant role in runoff generation and developed a monthly model that is able to account for their influences in the spatial and temporal dynamics of water balance. As a hybrid of the Xinanjiang model and TOPMODEL, the new model is constructed by innovatively making use of the highly acclaimed simulation techniques in the two existing models. A major contribution of this model development study is to adopt the technique of implicit representation of soil moisture characteristics in the Xinanjiang model and use the TOPMODEL concept to integrate terrain variations into runoff simulation. Specifically, the TOPMODEL topographic index ln(a/tan) is converted into an index of relative difficulty in runoff generation (IRDG) and then the cumulative frequency distribution of IRDG is used to substitute the parabolic curve, which represents the spatial variation of soil storage capacity in the Xinanjiang model. Digital elevation model data play a key role in the modelling procedures on a geographical information system platform, including basin segmentation, estimation of rainfall for each sub-basin and computation of terrain characteristics. Other monthly data for model calibration and validation are rainfall, pan evaporation and runoff. The new model has only three parameters to be estimated, i.e. watershed-average field capacity WM, pan coefficient and runoff generation coefficient . Sensitivity analysis demonstrates that runoff is least sensitive to WM and, therefore, it can be determined by a prior estimation based on the climate and soil properties of the study basin. The other two parameters can be determined using optimization methods. Model testing was carried out in a number of nested sub-basins of two watersheds (Yuanjiang River and Dongjiang River) in the humid region in central and southern China. Simulation results show that the model is capable of describing spatial and temporal variations of water balance components, including soil moisture content, evapotranspiration and runoff, over the watershed. With a minimal requirement for input data and parameterization, this terrain-based distributed model is a valuable contribution to the ever-advancing technology of hydrological modelling.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 21, no 2, 242-252 p.
monthly hydrological model, digital elevation model, distributed model, Xinanjiang model, TOPMODEL
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-15365DOI: 10.1002/hyp.6187OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-15365DiVA: diva2:43136