Publication Notices

Notifications of the Newest Publications and Reports Released by ERDC

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Tag: Precipitation (Meteorology)
  • 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.
  • Antecedent Precipitation Tool (APT) Version 1.0: Technical and User Guide

    Abstract: This document provides an overview of the technical components of the Antecedent Precipitation Tool (APT) and a user guide for using the APT. The APT is an automation tool that the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) developed to facilitate the comparison of antecedent or recent precipitation conditions for a given location to the range of normal precipitation conditions that occurred during the preceding 30 yr¹. In addition to providing a standardized methodology to evaluate normal precipitation conditions (“precipitation normalcy”), the APT can assess the presence of drought conditions and the approximate dates of the wet and dry seasons for a given location.
  • 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.
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: Utilizing Stream Flows to Forecast Dredging Requirements

    Abstract: In recent years, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has spent an average of approximately a billion dollars annually for navigation channel maintenance dredging. To execute these funds effectively, USACE districts must determine which navigation channels are most in need of maintenance dredging each year. Traditionally, dredging volume estimates for Operations and Maintenance budget development are based on experiential knowledge and historic averages, with the effects of upstream, precipitation-driven streamflows considered via general-rule approximations. This study uses the Streamflow Prediction Tool, a hydrologic routing model driven by global weather forecast ensembles, and dredging records from the USACE Galveston District to explore relationships between precipitation-driven inland channel flow and subsequent dredged volumes in the downstream coastal channel reaches. Spatially based regression relationships are established between cumulative inland flows and dredged volumes. Results in the test cases of the Houston Ship Channel and the Sabine-Neches Waterway in Texas indicate useful correlations between the computed streamflow volumes and recorded dredged volumes. These relationships are stronger for channel reaches farther inland, upstream of the coastal processes that are not included in the precipitation-driven hydrologic model.
  • 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 (, and QGIS, a free and open source geographic information system (, 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.
  • PUBLICATION NOTIFICATION: Effect of Tropical Storms and Precipitation on Dredging Volumes: Houston-Galveston, TX, and Mayport, FL

    Abstract: This study characterizes infilling responses within dredged navigation channels to rainfall from tropical storms and hurricanes. This project created a web tool based on the methods described in this report. This report discusses the different analysis methods considered to relate storm and rainfall to dredging volumes at two pilot sites, Galveston, TX, and Mayport, FL. A comprehensive storm Impact Factor for hurricanes was developed to quantify the impact at a site based on proximity, duration, and wind speed. The methods vary based on the length and timing of periods of storms and rainfall prior to a dredge event. At Galveston, TX, when 2-year dredging volume totals were compared to hurricane activity occurring in the previous 2 years, the maximum dredging volume removed was higher after higher hurricane activity when compared to low activity periods. The average amount dredged was higher following periods of high hurricane activity. At Mayport, FL, dredging volumes were compared to hurricane activity occurring since the last dredging action took place. Similarly to Galveston, TX, the maximum dredging volume removed was higher after higher hurricane activity periods when compared to low activity periods. The average amount dredged was higher following periods of high hurricane activity.
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: SPDAT Rainfall and Streamflow Analysis at Mobile, Alabama

    ABSTRACT: This Dredging Operations and Environmental Research (DOER) program technical note (TN) seeks to explain how the Storm and Precipitation Dredging Analysis Tool (SPDAT) can be used to determine dredging response to varying rainfall levels at a given site. This TN will focus on the historical dredging records in the Mobile Bay Ship Channel and rainfall levels in that area. The analysis presented in this TN will form the basis for how the tool methodology can be used to and compare rainfall and dredging records to determine response trends at other sites. The results from the tool analysis can inform dredging managers about how much dredging may be expected under similar rainfall or tropical storm conditions for future cycles.