Water (2021-01-01)

Improving Runoff Simulation and Forecasting with Segmenting Delay of Baseflow from Fast Surface Flow in Montane High-Vegetation-Covered Catchments

  • You Li,
  • Genxu Wang,
  • Changjun Liu,
  • Shan Lin,
  • Minghong Guan,
  • Xuantao Zhao

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 13, no. 196
p. 196


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Due to the complicated terrain conditions in montane catchments, runoff formation is fast and complicated, making accurate simulation and forecasting a significant hydrological challenge. In this study, the spatiotemporal variable source mixed runoff generation module (SVSMRG) was integrated with the long short-term memory (LSTM) method, to develop a semi-distributed model (SVSMRG)-based surface flow and baseflow segmentation (SVSMRG-SBS). Herein, the baseflow was treated as a black box and forecasted using LSTM, while the surface flow was simulated using the SVSMRG module based on hydrological response units (HRUs) constructed using eco-geomorphological units. In the case study, four typical montane catchments with different climatic conditions and high vegetation coverage, located in the topographically varying mountains of the eastern Tibetan Plateau, were selected for runoff and flood process simulations using the proposed SVSMRG-SBS model. The results showed that this model had good performance in hourly runoff and flood process simulations for montane catchments. Regarding runoff simulations, the Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient (NSE) and correlation coefficient (R2) reached 0.8241 and 0.9097, respectively. Meanwhile, for the flood simulations, the NSE ranged from 0.5923 to 0.7467, and R2 ranged from 0.6669 to 0.8092. For the 1-, 3-, and 5-h baseflow forecasting with the LSTM method, it was found that model performances declined when simulating the runoff processes, wherein the NSE and R2 between the measured and modeled runoff decreased from 0.8216 to 0.8087 and from 0.9095 to 0.8871, respectively. Similar results were found in the flood simulations, the NSE and R2 values declined from 0.7414–0.5885 to 0.7429–0.5716 and from 0.8042–0.6547 to 0.7936–0.6067, respectively. This means that this new model achieved perfect performance in montane catchment runoff and flood simulation and forecasting with 1-, 3-, 5-h steps. Therefore, as it considers vegetation regulation, the SVSMRG-SBS model is expected to improve runoff and flood simulation accuracy in montane high-vegetation-covered catchments.