thumbnail

How runoff begins (and ends): characterizing hydrologic response at the catchment scale

Water Resources Research

By:
,
DOI: 10.1002/wrcr.20218

Links

Abstract

Improved understanding of the complex dynamics associated with spatially and temporally variable runoff response is needed to better understand the hydrology component of interdisciplinary problems. The objective of this study was to quantitatively characterize the environmental controls on runoff generation for the range of different streamflow-generation mechanisms illustrated in the classic Dunne diagram. The comprehensive physics-based model of coupled surface-subsurface flow, InHM, is employed in a heuristic mode. InHM has been employed previously to successfully simulate the observed hydrologic response at four diverse, well-characterized catchments, which provides the foundation for this study. The C3 and CB catchments are located within steep, forested terrain; the TW and R5 catchments are located in gently sloping rangeland. The InHM boundary-value problems for these four catchments provide the corner-stones for alternative simulation scenarios designed to address the question of how runoff begins (and ends). Simulated rainfall-runoff events are used to systematically explore the impact of soil-hydraulic properties and rainfall characteristics. This approach facilitates quantitative analysis of both integrated and distributed hydrologic responses at high-spatial and temporal resolution over the wide range of environmental conditions represented by the four catchments. The results from 140 unique simulation scenarios illustrate how rainfall intensity/depth, subsurface permeability contrasts, characteristic curve shapes, and topography provide important controls on the hydrologic-response dynamics. The processes by which runoff begins (and ends) are shown, in large part, to be defined by the relative rates of rainfall, infiltration, lateral flow convergence, and storage dynamics within the variably saturated soil layers.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
How runoff begins (and ends): characterizing hydrologic response at the catchment scale
Series title:
Water Resources Research
DOI:
10.1002/wrcr.20218
Volume
49
Issue:
5
Year Published:
2013
Language:
English
Publisher:
AGU
Contributing office(s):
Branch of Regional Research-Western Region
Description:
20 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Water Resources Research
First page:
2987
Last page:
3006