This study explores various aspects of catchment hydrology based on a mechanistic modeling of distributed watershed processes. A new physics-based, distributed-parameter hydrological model that uses an irregular spatial discretization is introduced. The model accounts, on a continuous basis, for the processes of rainfall interception, evapotranspiration, moisture dynamics in the unsaturated and saturated zones, and runoff routing. Simulations of several mid- to large-sized watersheds (∼103 km2) highlight various dynamic relationships between the vadose zone-groundwater processes and their dependence on the land surface characteristics. It is argued that the model inferences can be used for interpretation of distributed relationships in a catchment. By exploiting a multiple-resolution representation, the hydrologic features of the watershed terrain are captured with only 5-10% of the original grid nodes. This computational efficiency suggests the feasibility of the operational use of fully distributed, physics-based models for large watersheds.
- Catchment hydrology
- Distributed hydrological model
- Multiple resolution
- Runoff generation
- Triangulated irregular network (TIN)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology