Catchment hydrologic response with a fully distributed triangulated irregular network model

Valeriy Y. Ivanov, Enrique R. Vivoni, Rafael L. Bras, Dara Entekhabi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

274 Scopus citations


This study explores various aspects of catchment hydrology based on a mechanistic modeling of distributed watershed processes. A new physics-based, distributed-parameter hydrological model that uses an irregular spatial discretization is introduced. The model accounts, on a continuous basis, for the processes of rainfall interception, evapotranspiration, moisture dynamics in the unsaturated and saturated zones, and runoff routing. Simulations of several mid- to large-sized watersheds (∼103 km2) highlight various dynamic relationships between the vadose zone-groundwater processes and their dependence on the land surface characteristics. It is argued that the model inferences can be used for interpretation of distributed relationships in a catchment. By exploiting a multiple-resolution representation, the hydrologic features of the watershed terrain are captured with only 5-10% of the original grid nodes. This computational efficiency suggests the feasibility of the operational use of fully distributed, physics-based models for large watersheds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)W1110201-W1110223
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Catchment hydrology
  • Distributed hydrological model
  • Multiple resolution
  • Runoff generation
  • Streamflow
  • Triangulated irregular network (TIN)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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