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Simulating interactions between saturated and unsaturated storage in a conceptual runoff model
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Air and Water Science.
2003 (English)In: Hydrological Processes, ISSN 0885-6087, E-ISSN 1099-1085, Vol. 17, no 2, 379-390 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is an increasing demand for modelling the fluxes of chemical constituents at the catchment scale. Conceptual runoff models provide a basis for such modelling tasks provided that they capture the essential hydrological processes. However, most conceptual models do not fully address interactions between unsaturated and saturated storage. This can lead to unrealistic simulations for watersheds with shallow groundwater, where a large part of the soil volume can contribute to both the unsaturated and the saturated storage, depending on groundwater levels. Adding a small amount of water to the saturated storage will cause a significant amount of water stored in the unsaturated zone to change its status to ‘saturated’. The maximum volume of the unsaturated storage also decreases with rising groundwater levels, i.e. increasing saturated storage. In this study, a new model concept was proposed in which special emphasis was put on the interaction between saturated and unsaturated storage. The total storage was divided into two compartments, representing saturated and unsaturated storage, with a boundary moving up and down in response to the water budget of the compartments. Groundwater dynamics show a distinct pattern along the hillslope studied. Groundwater levels in an area close to the stream had dynamics similar to runoff, whereas levels further upslope responded to rainfall with a delay. To represent these differences in the model, the hillslope was subdivided into a riparian and an upslope reservoir. The performance of the new model was compared with that of simpler model variants without spatial differentiation and with or without the new formulation allowing for interactions between unsaturated and saturated storage. The new model approach provided the best results for simulating both runoff and groundwater dynamics. The subdivision of the hillslope accounted for most of the performance increase. To test the model structure further, 18O concentrations in the stream were simulated and compared with measured values.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 17, no 2, 379-390 p.
Keyword [en]
conceptual modelling; hillslope hydrology; saturated–unsaturated zones interactions; water storage, 18O
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-21886DOI: 10.1002/hyp.1130OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-21886DiVA: diva2:49659
Available from: 2007-03-22 Created: 2007-03-22 Last updated: 2014-01-21Bibliographically approved

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Seibert, J.Rodhe, AllanBishop, Kevin
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