Articles | Volume 9, issue 6
Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 2223–2238, 2016
Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 2223–2238, 2016

Model description paper 23 Jun 2016

Model description paper | 23 Jun 2016

mizuRoute version 1: a river network routing tool for a continental domain water resources applications

Naoki Mizukami1, Martyn P. Clark1, Kevin Sampson1, Bart Nijssen2, Yixin Mao2, Hilary McMillan3,8, Roland J. Viger4, Steve L. Markstrom4, Lauren E. Hay4, Ross Woods5, Jeffrey R. Arnold6, and Levi D. Brekke7 Naoki Mizukami et al.
  • 1National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 2University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • 3National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • 4United States Geological Survey, Denver, CO, USA
  • 5University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  • 6U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers, Seattle, WA, USA
  • 7Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO, USA
  • 8San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA

Abstract. This paper describes the first version of a stand-alone runoff routing tool, mizuRoute. The mizuRoute tool post-processes runoff outputs from any distributed hydrologic model or land surface model to produce spatially distributed streamflow at various spatial scales from headwater basins to continental-wide river systems. The tool can utilize both traditional grid-based river network and vector-based river network data. Both types of river network include river segment lines and the associated drainage basin polygons, but the vector-based river network can represent finer-scale river lines than the grid-based network. Streamflow estimates at any desired location in the river network can be easily extracted from the output of mizuRoute. The routing process is simulated as two separate steps. First, hillslope routing is performed with a gamma-distribution-based unit-hydrograph to transport runoff from a hillslope to a catchment outlet. The second step is river channel routing, which is performed with one of two routing scheme options: (1) a kinematic wave tracking (KWT) routing procedure; and (2) an impulse response function – unit-hydrograph (IRF-UH) routing procedure. The mizuRoute tool also includes scripts (python, NetCDF operators) to pre-process spatial river network data. This paper demonstrates mizuRoute's capabilities to produce spatially distributed streamflow simulations based on river networks from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Geospatial Fabric (GF) data set in which over 54 000 river segments and their contributing areas are mapped across the contiguous United States (CONUS). A brief analysis of model parameter sensitivity is also provided. The mizuRoute tool can assist model-based water resources assessments including studies of the impacts of climate change on streamflow.

Short summary
mizuRoute version 1 is a stand-alone runoff routing tool that post-processes runoff outputs from any distributed hydrologic models to produce streamflow estimates in large-scale river network. mizuRoute is flexible to river network representation and includes two different river routing schemes. This paper demonstrates mizuRoute's capability of multi-decadal streamflow estimations in the river networks over the entire contiguous Unites States, which contains over 54 000 river segments.