A modified simple dynamic model: Derived from the information embedded in observed streamflows

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A zero-dimension hydrological model has been developed to simulate the discharge (Q) from watershed groundwater storage(S). The model is a modified version of the original model developed by Kirchner in 2009 which uses a unique sensitivity function, g(Q) to represent the relation between rate of flow recession and the instantaneous flow rate. The modified dynamic model instead uses a normalized sensitivity function g(Qnorm) which provides the model the flexibility to encompass the hysteretic effect of initial water storage on flow during recession periods. The sensitivity function is normalized based on a correlation function F(Q) which implicitly quantifies the influence of initial storage conditions on recession flow dynamics. For periods of either positive or negative net recharge to groundwater the model applies a term similar in form to an analytical solution based on solution to the linearized Boussinesq equation. The combination of these two streamflow components, the recession component and the net recharge response, provides the model with the flexibility to realistically mimic the hysteresis in the Q vs. S relations for a watershed. The model is applied to the Sagehen Creek watershed, a hilly watershed located in the Sierra Mountains of California. The results show that the modified model has an improved performance to simulate the discharge dynamic encompassing a wide range of water storage (degree of wetness) representing an almost ten-fold variation in annual streamflow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-209
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Hydrology
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The first author was partially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2016YFC040281002 and 2016YFC0402808), the National Nature Science Foundation of China (No. 51409161), and the Science and Technology Program of Jiangsu Province (No. BK20140080). J.L. Nieber's effort on this project was partially supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch/Multistate project 12- 059.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Storage-discharge relationship
  • Streamflow recession
  • Subsurface flow
  • Zero-dimension dynamic model


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