Most physically-based hydrological models simulate to various extents the relevant watershed processes occurring at different spatiotemporal scales. These models use different physical domain representations (e.g., hydrological response units, discretized control volumes) and numerical solution techniques (e.g., finite difference method, finite element method) as well as a variety of approximations for representing the physical processes. Despite the fact that several models have been developed so far, very few inter-comparison studies have been conducted to check beyond streamflows whether different modeling approaches could simulate in a similar fashion the other processes at the watershed scale. In this study, PIHM (Qu and Duffy, 2007), a fully coupled, distributed model, and HYDROTEL (Fortin et al., 2001; Turcotte et al., 2003, 2007), a pseudo-coupled, semi-distributed model, were compared to check whether the models could corroborate observed streamflows while equally representing other processes as well such as evapotranspiration, snow accumulation/melt or infiltration, etc. For this study, the Young Womans Creek watershed, PA, was used to compare: streamflows (channel routing), actual evapotranspiration, snow water equivalent (snow accumulation and melt), infiltration, recharge, shallow water depth above the soil surface (surface flow), lateral flow into the river (surface and subsurface flow) and height of the saturated soil column (subsurface flow). Despite a lack of observed data for contrasting most of the simulated processes, it can be said that the two models can be used as simulation tools for streamflows, actual evapotranspiration, infiltration, lateral flows into the river, and height of the saturated soil column. However, each process presents particular differences as a result of the physical parameters and the modeling approaches used by each model. Potentially, these differences should be object of further analyses to definitively confirm or reject modeling hypotheses.
Rousseau, Alain N, Alvaro Pardo Álvarez, Xuan Yu, Stephane Savary and Christopher Duffy (2015): Comparison of Two Conceptually Different Physically-based Hydrological Models – Looking Beyond Streamflows . H23E-1624 Intercomparison Studies of Hydrological Models: Beyond Comparing Streamflows, Snow Water Equivalent, and Evapotranspiration Posters, presented at 2015 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA, 14-18 Dec..
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.
Rousseau et al., 2015
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