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  • Automation of Gridded HEC-HMS Model Development Using Python: Initial Condition Testing and Calibration Applications

    Abstract: The US Army Corps of Engineers’s (USACE) Hydrologic Engineering Center-Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS) rainfall-runoff model is widely used within the research community to develop both event-based and continuous rainfall-runoff models. The soil moisture accounting (SMA) algorithm is commonly used for long-term simulations. Depending on the final model setup, 12 to 18 parameters are needed to characterize the modeled watershed’s canopy, surface, soil, and routing processes, all of which are potential calibration parameters. HEC-HMS includes optimization tools to facilitate model calibration, but only initial conditions (ICs) can be calibrated when using the gridded SMA algorithm. Calibrating a continuous SMA HEC-HMS model is an iterative process that can require hundreds of simulations, a time intensive process requiring automation. HEC-HMS is written in Java and is predominantly run through a graphical user interface (GUI). As such, conducting a long-term gridded SMA calibration is infeasible using the GUI. USACE Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) has written a workflow that utilizes the existing Jython application programming interface (API) to batch run HEC-HMS simulations with Python. The workflow allows for gridded SMA HEC-HMS model sensitivity and calibration analyses to be conducted in a timely manner.
  • Hydrologic Analysis of Field Delineated Ordinary High Water Marks for Rivers and Streams

    Abstract: Streamflow influences the distribution and organization of high water marks along rivers and streams in a landscape. The federal definition of ordinary high water mark (OHWM) is defined by physical and vegetative field indicators that are used to identify inundation extents of ordinary high water levels without any reference to the relationship between streamflow and regulatory definition. Streamflow is the amount, or volume, of water that moves through a stream per unit time. This study explores regional characteristics and relationships between field-delineated OHWMs and frequency-magnitude streamflow metrics derived from a flood frequency analysis. The elevation of OHWM is related to representative constant-level discharge return periods with national average return periods of 6.9 years using partial duration series and 2.8 years using annual maximum flood frequency approaches. The range in OHWM return periods is 0.5 to 9.08, and 1.05 to 11.01 years for peaks-over-threshold and annual maximum flood frequency methods, respectively. The range of OHWM return periods is consistent with the range found in national studies of return periods related to bankfull streamflow. Hydraulic models produced a statistically significant relationship between OHWM and bank-full, which reinforces the close relationship between the scientific concept and OHWM in most stream systems.
  • Wintertime Snow and Precipitation Conditions in the Willow Creek Watershed above Ririe Dam, Idaho

    ABSTRACT:  The Ririe Dam and Reservoir project is located on Willow Creek near Idaho Falls, Idaho, and is important for flood risk reduction and water supply. The current operating criteria is based on fully storing a large winter runoff event. These winter runoff events are generally from large storm events, termed atmospheric rivers, which produce substantial precipitation. In addition to the precipitation, enhanced runoff is produced due to frozen soil and snowmelt. However, the need for additional water supply by local stakeholders has prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to seek to better understand the current level of flood risk reduction provided by Ririe Dam and Reservoir.  Flood risk analysis using hydrologic modeling software requires quantification of the probability for all of the hydrometeorologic inputs. Our study develops the precipitation, SWE, and frozen ground probabilities that are required for the hydrologic modeling necessary to quantify the current winter flood risk.
  • The Demonstration and Validation of a Linked Watershed-Riverine Modeling System for DoD Installations: User Guidance Report Version 2.0

    Abstract: A linked watershed model was evaluated on three watersheds within the U.S.: (1) House Creek Watershed, Fort Hood, TX; (2) Calleguas Creek Watershed, Ventura County, CA; and (3) Patuxent River Watershed, MD. The goal of this demonstration study was to show the utility of such a model in addressing water quality issues facing DoD installations across a variety of climate zones. In performing the demonstration study, evaluations of model output with regards to accuracy, predictability and meeting regulatory drivers were completed. Data availability, level of modeling expertise, and costs for model setup, validation, scenario analysis, and maintenance were evaluated in order to inform installation managers on the time and cost investment needed to use a linked watershed modeling system. Final conclusions were that the system evaluated in this study would be useful for answering a variety of questions posed by installation managers and could be useful in developing management scenarios to better control pollutant runoff from installations.
  • Hydrologic Impacts on Human Health: El Niño Southern Oscillation and Cholera

    Abstract: A non-stationary climate imposes considerable challenges regarding potential public health concerns. The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, which occurs every 2 to 7 years, correlates positively with occurrences of the waterborne disease cholera. The warm sea surface temperatures and extreme weather associated with ENSO create optimal conditions for breeding the Vibrio cholerae pathogen and for human exposure to the pathogenic waters. This work explored the impacts of ENSO on cholera occurrence rates over the past 50 years by examining annual rates of suspected cholera cases per country in relation to ENSO Index values. This study provides a relationship indicating when hydrologic conditions are optimal for cholera growth, and presents a statistical approach to answer three questions: Are cholera outbreaks more likely to occur in an El Niño year? What other factors impact cholera outbreaks? How will the future climate impact cholera incidence rates as it relates to conditions found in ENSO? Cholera outbreaks from the 1960s to the present are examined focusing on regions of Central and South America, and southern Asia. By examining the predictive relationship between climate variability and cholera, we can draw conclusions about future vulnerability to cholera and other waterborne pathogenic diseases.
  • The Demonstration and Validation of a Linked Watershed-Riverine Modeling System for DoD Installations – Patuxent Watershed, Maryland

    Abstract: This work evaluated a linked watershed and riverine modeling system for the Patuxent River Watershed, Maryland against observed field data and model output from a watershed model. The performance objectives were computed for streamflow, sediment, total phosphorus, orthophosphorus, total nitrogen, ammonium, and nitrate using daily and monthly average model predictions and measured data. Hydrological Simulation Program – Fortran (HSPF) was used to compute runoff, sediment, and nutrient loadings, whereas the Hydrologic Engineer Center – River Analysis Sys-tem (HEC-RAS) was used to evaluate in-stream flow, channel sedimentation, and the fate/transport of nutrients. Model results were successful for calibration, validation, and management scenario analysis. Contaminants were not simulated for this watershed due to a lack of observed data to compare against. The study identified two implementation issues. First, while the Patuxent River did not experience dry bed conditions, where a stream may be intermittent, one can incorporate a very narrow slot at the low point in the cross-section to numerically keep the channel wet during very low flows. Second, to set up the linked model, there needs to be more observed water quality data to better constrain the HSPF output being used as boundary conditions to the HEC-RAS model.
  • Hydrodynamic and Sediment Transport Modeling for James River Dredged Material Management

    Abstract: The fate of material placed during dredging operations within the James River (Dancing Point-Swann Point reach) at a channel adjacent placement mound was modeled within this work. The study focuses on the potential migration of the placement mound into the channel as well as the transport of sediment resuspended during placement. A select combination of US Army Engineer Research and Development-developed models was utilized in this work to appropriately simulate hydrodynamic conditions, pipeline discharge near field suspended sediment estimates, far field transport of the pipeline discharge source term, and mound migration. Results show that the material released into the water column during placement remains in the placement area or is transported out of the area of interest downstream. A small fraction of sediment from the placement mound migrates into the channel after placement. The fine-grained nature of these sediments precludes these small volumes of sediment from depositing in the channel where the currents are strong.
  • Readily Available Hydrologic Models: Pertinence to Regulatory Application

    Purpose: Water is the driving force of wetlands. Hydroperiod represents both the frequency and duration of inundation or soil saturation whether it is from flooding or ponding. The formation of hydric soils and an expression of hydrophytic vegetation are evidence of the hydroperiod, which can be described along a gradient of hydrologic conditions (Figure 1). Hydrologic modeling provides a means to establish wetland hydroperiod, including current wetland hydrologic conditions and forecasting future conditions in response to future with and without wetland impacts or restoration actions. Today, fast computer processing and hydrologic models allow the user to make a large number of computations very rapidly on potentially large volumes of data. Currently, there is a myriad of hydrologic models available that offer an array of applications. For regulatory application, accurate determination of wetland hydrology is paramount to the following: - Confirm wetland hydrologic criteria in accordance to the US Army Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual (1987 Manual) and Regional Supplements. - Establish frequency and duration (hydroperiod) of wetland ponding and flooding. - Conduct wetland functional assessments including identification of predominant water source(s). - Estimate wetland impacts from regulated activities. - Determine ecological lift in response to restoration actions (compensatory mitigation). - Establish performance standards and success criteria for compensatory mitigation. - Facilitate development of a monitoring and adaptive management plan. The objective of this report is to provide a treatise of hydrologic models that offer specific application to establish wetland hydrology for existing and future conditions in response to regulated activities and restoration actions. The emphasis is on the suitability of existing hydrologic models to hydrogeomorphic (HGM) wetland classes. HGM subclasses are not addressed in this technical note. For more details on HGM classification, see Brinson (1993).
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: Spatial Analysis of Precipitation and Snow Water Equivalent Extremes for the Columbia River Basin

    Abstract: Recent advances in the spatial statistics of extremes and model calibration were applied to develop and deliver areal-exceedance estimates for precipitation (PREC), by season and duration, and snow water equivalent (SWE), by cool season month and for the water year, for 758 delineated sub-basins of the Columbia River Basin (CRB), which correspond to a new CRB hydrology model watershed delineation. Understanding that future US Army Corps of Engineers, Northwestern Division, mission requirements may change, project execution also included the development and delivery of an application guidance document to credibly compute areal-exceedance estimates, including uncertainty, for PREC or SWE for any arbitrary area within the CRB. R, a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics (https://www.r-project.org/), and QGIS, a free and open source geographic information system (https://qgis.org/en/site/index.html), were the primary tools used for product development and delivery. The following R software packages were primarily used during project execution: evd, Glmnet, maps, raster, rgdal, SDMTools, sp, and SpatialExtremes.