Multiscale modeling of spatially variable water and energy balance processes


  • J. S. Famiglietti,

  • E. F. Wood


This paper presents the model development component of a body of research which addresses aggregation and scaling in multiscale hydrological modeling. Water and energy balance models are developed at the local and catchment scales and at the macroscale by aggregating a simple soil-vegetation-atmosphere transfer scheme (SVATS) across scales in a topographic framework. A spatially distributed approach is followed to aggregate the SVATS to the catchment scale. A statistical-dynamical approach is utilized to simplify the large-scale modeling problem and to aggregate the SVATS to the macroscale. The resulting macroscale hydrological model is proposed for use as a land surface parameterization in atmospheric models. It differs greatly from the current generation of land surface parameterizations owing to its simplified representation of vertical process physics and its statistical representation of horizontally heterogeneous runoff and energy balance processes. The spatially distributed model formulation is explored to understand the role of spatial variability in determining areal-average fluxes and the dynamics of hydrological processes. The simpler macroscale formulation is analyzed to determine how it represents these important dynamics, with implications for the parameterization of runoff and energy balance processes in atmospheric models.