Improved Interflow and Infiltration Algorithms for Distributed Hydrological Models
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The shallow subsurface controls the partitioning of available energy between sensible and latent heat of the land surface, and the partitioning of available water among evaporation, infiltration, and runoff. It is a key component of both the hydrometeorological system and the terrestrial water cycle. A critical part of any hydrological or hydrometeorological forecast model is therefore the algorithms used to represent the shallow soil processes, which include infiltration, evaporation, runoff, and interflow. For climate models, coupled algorithms called “Land Surface Schemes” (LSSs) are developed to represent the lower boundary conditions that deal with the land-to-atmosphere energy and moisture fluxes. Similar algorithms are implemented in regional watershed models and day-to-day operational water resources forecasting models. It is the primary objective of this thesis to provide improved methods for simulating coupled land surface processes, which can be used as components of LSSs or within existing operational hydrology models. These new methods address a number of specific issues inadequately handled by current models, including the presence of shallow boundary conditions, heterogeneity in infiltration, and infiltration and interflow coupling processes. The main objective of the proposed research is to provide consistent physically-based approach for simulating near surface soil moisture processes, so as to complete the parameterization of the interflow/infiltration algorithm in a Hydrology-Land-Surface scheme MESH. The work mainly focuses on the investigation and development of more physically-based infiltration and interflow algorithms. The hope is to determine appropriate relationships between internal state variables (specifically bulk soil moisture) and system boundary fluxes, while simultaneously reducing the number of nonphysical or unknown model parameters. Fewer parameters lead to reduced calibration requirements for distributed hydrological models and consequently accelerate the transfer of such models to engineering practice. Multiple approaches were taken to provide improved relationships between infiltration and lateral drainage, fluxes and storage. These algorithms were tested by a specialized Richards' equation for sloping soils and Monte Carlo simulations. These tests demonstrated reasonable accuracy and improved representation for the hydrological processes.