WEHY-HCM for Modeling Interactive Atmospheric-Hydrologic Processes at Watershed Scale. II: Model Application to Ungauged and Sparsely Gauged Watersheds

Shuichi Kure, S. Jang, N. Ohara, M. L. Kavvas, Z. Q. Chen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    The objective of this study is to evaluate the potential of theWatershed Environmental Hydrology Hydro-Climate Model (WEHYHCM) for modeling runoff at ungauged or sparsely gauged watersheds. The WEHY-HCM employs an atmospheric module (fifth generation mesoscale model, MM5) that is coupled with its process-based watershed environmental hydrology (WEHY) module. In this study the atmospheric component of the WEHY-HCM was utilized for the dynamical downscaling of the coarse U.S. National Center for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) historical global reanalysis atmospheric data over a foothills region in Northern California in order to reconstruct the historical hydro-climate data over four watersheds in the foothills region at 3 km grid scale at hourly intervals. The WEHY-HCM's atmospheric module performance was evaluated by the comparison of model-reconstructed precipitation and air temperature against ground observations in time and space with satisfactory results. These results lead to the conclusion that WEHY-HCM may be useful at sparsely-gauged or ungauged watersheds for producing nonexistent atmospheric data as input to the modeling of surface and subsurface hydrologic processes at such watersheds. By means of the reconstructed atmospheric data as its input, the WEHY module of WEHY-HCM was then applied to the Sierra foothills region, encompassing Big Chico Creek (192 km2), Little Chico Creek (78 km2), Upper Butte Creek (407 km2) and Deer Creek (508 km2) watersheds in northern California. The model simulations of daily and monthly runoff at these watersheds, when compared against historical observations by means of visual inspections and statistical tests during a validation period yielded satisfactory results. Therefore, it is concluded that the WEHY-HCM may be useful in producing both atmospheric data and runoff simulations over ungauged and sparsely gauged watersheds.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1272-1281
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Hydrologic Engineering
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sep 25


    • Dynamic downscaling
    • Hydrologic prediction in ungauged basins
    • Process-based modeling
    • Watershed hydro-climate model

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Chemistry
    • Civil and Structural Engineering
    • Water Science and Technology
    • Environmental Science(all)


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