Streamflow simulation for continental-scale river basins


  • Bart Nijssen,

  • Dennis P. Lettenmaier,

  • Xu Liang,

  • Suzanne W. Wetzel,

  • Eric F. Wood


A grid network version of the two-layer variable infiltration capacity (VIC-2L) macroscale hydrologic model is described. VIC-2L is a hydrologically based soil- vegetation-atmosphere transfer scheme designed to represent the land surface in numerical weather prediction and climate models. The grid network scheme allows streamflow to be predicted for large continental rivers. Off-line (observed and estimated surface meteorological and radiative forcings) applications of the model to the Columbia River (1° latitude-longitude spatial resolution) and Delaware River (0.5° resolution) are described. The model performed quite well in both applications, reproducing the seasonal hydrograph and annual flow volumes to within a few percent. Difficulties in reproducing observed streamflow in the arid portion of the Snake River basin are attributed to groundwater-surface water interactions, which are not modeled by VIC-2L.