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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-264
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-264
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 04 Jul 2019

Submitted as: research article | 04 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Comparison of Generalized Non-Data-Driven Reservoir Routing Models for Global-Scale Hydrologic Modeling

Joseph L. Gutenson1, Ahmad A. Tavakoly1,2, Mark D. Wahl1, and Michael L. Follum1 Joseph L. Gutenson et al.
  • 1Research Civil Engineer (Hydraulics), US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, 3909 Halls Ferry Rd., Vicksburg, MS 39056
  • 2University of Maryland, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, College Park, Maryland, USA

Abstract. Large-scale hydrologic simulations should account for attenuation through lakes and reservoirs when flow regulation is present. Generalized methods for approximating outflow are required since reservoir operation is complex and specific real-time release information is typically unavailable at global scales. There is currently no consensus on the best approach for approximating reservoir release rates in large spatial scale hydrologic forecasting. This research compares two parsimonious reservoir routing methods previously implemented in large-scale hydrologic modeling applications, requiring minimal data so as not to limit their usage. The methods considered are those proposed by Döll et al. (2003) and Hanasaki et al. (2006). This paper compares the two methodologies across 60 reservoirs operated from 2006–2012 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The authors vary empirical coefficients for both reservoir routing methods as part of a sensitivity analysis. The Döll method generally outperformed the Hanasaki method at a daily time step, improving model skill in most cases beyond run-of-the-river conditions. The temporal resolution of the model influences performance. The optimal model coefficients varied across the reservoirs in this study and model performance fluctuates between wet years and dry years, and for different configurations such as dams in series. Overall, the Döll and Hanasaki Methods could enhance large scale hydrologic forecasting, but can be subject to instability under certain conditions.

Joseph L. Gutenson et al.
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Short summary
Global-scale hydrologic simulations should account for attenuation through lakes and reservoirs. There is no consensus on the best approach to estimating this attenuation in global-scale, hydrologic models. This article investigates two existing, parsimonious approaches to estimating reservoir outflows. We find that a method first developed in 2003, can provide a reasonable approximation to reservoir outflows at a daily time step.
Global-scale hydrologic simulations should account for attenuation through lakes and reservoirs....
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