Estimating quick-flow runoff at the monthly timescale for the conterminous United States

Journal of Hydrology
By:  and 

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Abstract

The quantitative estimation of the quick-flow runoff component of streamflow is required for many hydrologic applications. Estimation at the monthly timescale and national spatial scale would be particularly useful for national water availability modeling. This paper reviews a sample of commonly used equations for quick-flow runoff, including several currently in use in continental-scale models. The review shows the wide range of equation forms or heuristics currently in use to predict quick-flow runoff, the limited spatial scale over which these equations are often developed or calibrated, and the scarcity of well-tested equations available for quick-flow runoff at the monthly timescale. Data were gathered from a set of 1301 gaged watersheds across the United States to test a range of equations from the literature, along with several alternative equations, to assess and compare their performance in predicting quick-flow runoff at the monthly timescale. The highest-performing equation was selected for application to monthly maps of explanatory variables to produce monthly quick-flow runoff water budget contribution maps. This equation is a regression against precipitation, soil saturated hydraulic conductivity, surficial geology type, and slope data. Its application indicates that average quick-flow runoff across the conterminous United States in the winter exceeds that in the summer by up to a factor of three. The monthly maps were explored and evaluated for the timespan of 2000-2015. The comparison of equation forms and produced monthly maps will be useful for a variety of hydrologic modeling and monitoring applications.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Estimating quick-flow runoff at the monthly timescale for the conterminous United States
Series title Journal of Hydrology
DOI 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.04.010
Volume 573
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) WMA - Observing Systems Division
Description 14 p.
First page 841
Last page 854
Country United States