461 Enhancements to the WRF-Hydro Hydrologic Model Structure for Semiarid Environments

Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Timothy M. Lahmers, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; and H. V. Gupta, P. Hazenberg, C. L. Castro, D. J. Gochis, D. N. Yates, A. Dugger, and D. C. Goodrich

Handout (6.4 MB)

The NOAA National Water Center (NWC) implemented an operational National Water Model (NWM) in August 2016 to simulate and forecast streamflow and soil moisture throughout the Contiguous US (CONUS). The NWM is based on the WRF-Hydro hydrologic model architecture; however, the operational NWM does not currently resolve infiltration of water from the beds of ephemeral channels, which is an important component of the water balance in semi-arid environments common in many portions of the western US. This work demonstrates the benefit of a conceptual channel infiltration function in the WRF-Hydro model architecture following calibration. The updated model structure and parameters for the NWM architecture, when implemented operationally, will permit its use in flow simulation and forecasting in the southwest US.

Our channel infiltration function is based on that of the KINEROS2 semi-distributed hydrologic model, which has been tested throughout the southwest CONUS for flash flood forecasts. Model calibration utilizes the Dynamically Dimensioned Search (DDS) algorithm, and the model is calibrated using NLDAS-2 atmospheric forcing and NCEP Stage-IV precipitation. Our results show that adding channel infiltration to WRF-Hydro can produce a physically consistent hydrologic response with a high-resolution gauge based precipitation forcing dataset in the USDA-ARS Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed. NWM WRF-Hydro is also tested for the Babocomari River, Beaver Creek, and Sycamore Creek catchments in southern and central Arizona. In these basins, model skill is degraded due to uncertainties in the NCEP Stage-IV precipitation forcing dataset.

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