Articles | Volume 4, issue 4
Model description paper
04 Nov 2011
Model description paper |  | 04 Nov 2011

The JGrass-NewAge system for forecasting and managing the hydrological budgets at the basin scale: models of flow generation and propagation/routing

G. Formetta, R. Mantilla, S. Franceschi, A. Antonello, and R. Rigon

Abstract. This paper presents a discussion of the predictive capacity of the implementation of the semi-distributed hydrological modeling system JGrass-NewAge. This model focuses on the hydrological budgets of medium scale to large scale basins as the product of the processes at the hillslope scale with the interplay of the river network. The part of the modeling system presented here deals with the: (i) estimation of the space-time structure of precipitation, (ii) estimation of runoff production; (iii) aggregation and propagation of flows in channel; (v) estimation of evapotranspiration; (vi) automatic calibration of the discharge with the method of particle swarming.

The system is based on a hillslope-link geometrical partition of the landscape, combining raster and vectorial treatment of hillslope data with vector based tracking of flow in channels. Measured precipitation are spatially interpolated with the use of kriging. Runoff production at each channel link is estimated through a peculiar application of the Hymod model. Routing in channels uses an integrated flow equation and produces discharges at any link end, for any link in the river network. Evapotranspiration is estimated with an implementation of the Priestley-Taylor equation. The model system assembly is calibrated using the particle swarming algorithm. A two year simulation of hourly discharge of the Little Washita (OK, USA) basin is presented and discussed with the support of some classical indices of goodness of fit, and analysis of the residuals. A novelty with respect to traditional hydrological modeling is that each of the elements above, including the preprocessing and the analysis tools, is implemented as a software component, built upon Object Modelling System v3 and jgrasstools prescriptions, that can be cleanly switched in and out at run-time, rather than at compiling time. The possibility of creating different modeling products by the connection of modules with or without the calibration tool, as for instance the case of the present modeling chain, reduces redundancy in programming, promotes collaborative work, enhances the productivity of researchers, and facilitates the search for the optimal modeling solution.