Global Biogeochemical Cycles

High-resolution fields of global runoff combining observed river discharge and simulated water balances

Authors

  • Balázs M. Fekete,

    1. Complex Systems Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham,, New Hampshire, , USA
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  • Charles J. Vörösmarty,

    1. Complex Systems Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham,, New Hampshire, , USA
    2. Also at Earth Sciences Department, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA.
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  • Wolfgang Grabs

    1. Hydrology and Water Resources Department, World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
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Abstract

[1] This paper demonstrates the potential of combining observed river discharge information with climate-driven water balance model (WBM) outputs to develop composite runoff fields. Such combined runoff fields simultaneously reflect the numerical accuracy of the discharge measurements and preserve the spatial and temporal distribution of simulated runoff. Selected gauging stations from the World Meteorological Organization Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC) data archive were geographically coregistered to a gridded simulated topological network at 30′ (longitude × latitude) spatial resolution (STN–30p). Interstation regions between gauging stations along the STN–30p network were identified, and annual interstation runoff was calculated. The annual interstation runoff was compared with outputs from WBM calculations, which were performed using long-term mean monthly climate forcings (air temperature and precipitation). The simulated runoff for each cell was multiplied by the ratio of observed to simulated runoff of the corresponding interstation region from the GRDC data set to create spatially distributed runoff fields at 30′ resolution. The resulting composite runoff fields (UNH/GRDC Composite Runoff Fields V1.0) are released to the scientific community along with intermediate data sets, such as station attributes and long-term monthly regimes of the selected gauging stations, the simulated topological network (STN–30p), STN–30p derived attributes for the selected stations, and gridded fields of the interstation regions along STN–30p. These data sets represent high-resolution fields that are of value to a broad range of water-related research, including terrestrial modeling, climate-atmosphere interactions, and global water resource assessments.

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