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University of Connecticut (2018)

Capturing Spatial Variation in the PrecipitationRunoff Modeling System

Bugden Timothy

Titre : Capturing Spatial Variation in the PrecipitationRunoff Modeling System

Auteur : Bugden Timothy

Université de soutenance : University of Connecticut

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2018

A persistent question in hydrologic modeling is how to capture enough of the real spatial variation of a hydrologic system, considering that data availability often limits spatial resolution of input data. In other words, what are the appropriate spatial scales for a model to address particular problems ? This thesis approaches this problem as it applies to a rainfall-runoff watershed-scale model, the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS). PRMS uses Hydrologic Response Units (HRUs) as the spatial units to represent a watershed. The sizing of HRUs is at the modeler’s discretion, but the U.S. Geological Survey suggests that HRU size should be in the range of 0.1 to 500 square kilometers (U.S. Geological Survey). This is a large range and it leaves substantial latitude to the modeler. HRU size is important because it determines how much upstream spatial variation is captured in the model. For some purposes, the modeler may need to simulate streamflow only at the watershed outlet ; thus, the watershed may be modeled with as few as one HRU if performance is adequate. For other purposes, the modeler may be required to simulate streamflow at multiple nodes within the watershed, in which case HRU delineation is primarily forced by the number and location of nodes. This thesis evaluates PRMS simulation performance in response to varying HRU size.


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