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Spatially distributed long‐term hydrologic simulation using a continuous SCS CN method‐based hybrid hydrologic model

Cho, Younghyun, Engel, Bernard A.
Hydrological processes 2018 v.32 no.7 pp. 904-922
case studies, hydrograph, hydrologic models, rain, runoff, simulation models, soil conservation, soil water, spatial data, storms, stream flow, watersheds
A continuous Soil Conservation Service (SCS) curve number (CN) method that considers time‐varied SCS CN values was developed based on the original SCS CN method with a revised soil moisture accounting approach to estimate run‐off depth for long‐term discontinuous storm events. The method was applied to spatially distributed long‐term hydrologic simulation of rainfall‐run‐off flow with an underlying assumption for its spatial variability using a geographic information systems‐based spatially distributed Clark's unit hydrograph method (Distributed‐Clark; hybrid hydrologic model), which is a simple few parameter run‐off routing method for input of spatiotemporally varied run‐off depth, incorporating conditional unit hydrograph adoption for different run‐off precipitation depth‐based direct run‐off flow convolution. Case studies of spatially distributed long‐term (total of 6 years) hydrologic simulation for four river basins using daily NEXRAD quantitative precipitation estimations demonstrate overall performances of Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (ENS) 0.62, coefficient of determination (R²) 0.64, and percent bias 0.33% in direct run‐off and ENS 0.71, R² 0.72, and percent bias 0.15% in total streamflow for model result comparison against observed streamflow. These results show better fit (improvement in ENS of 42.0% and R² of 33.3% for total streamflow) than the same model using spatially averaged gauged rainfall. Incorporation of logic for conditional initial abstraction in a continuous SCS CN method, which can accommodate initial run‐off loss amounts based on previous rainfall, slightly enhances model simulation performance; both ENS and R² increased by 1.4% for total streamflow in a 4‐year calibration period. A continuous SCS CN method‐based hybrid hydrologic model presented in this study is, therefore, potentially significant to improved implementation of long‐term hydrologic applications for spatially distributed rainfall‐run‐off generation and routing, as a relatively simple hydrologic modelling approach for the use of more reliable gridded types of quantitative precipitation estimations.