Model Complexity Required to Maintain Hydrologic Response

by D. C. Goodrich, Univ of Arizona, United States,
D. A. Woolhiser, Univ of Arizona, United States,
S. Sorooshian, Univ of Arizona, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


An increasing number of practitioners are using distributed hydrologic models employing kinematic routing. Watersheds are typically represented by a set of overland flow plane and channel elements, yet no guidelines exist for determining how complex the model representation must be. A small semiarid watershed was divided into plane and channel segments using a large scale topographic map. A kinematic rainfall-runoff model was used to obtain runoff hydrographs for the watershed representation for three rainfall events. Methodology was developed to aggregate model elements into a smaller number of equivalent elements. Model performance at various levels of aggregation was measured. Model aggregation for the study basin was readily accomplished for small floods.

Subject Headings: Hydrologic models | Kinematics | Channel flow | Mathematical models | Rainfall-runoff relationships | Rain water | Water flow | Hydraulic models

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