Simulating river flow velocity on global scale

Schulze, K.; Hunger, M.; Döll, P.

Flow velocity in rivers has a major impact on residence time of water and thus on high and low water as well as on water quality. For global scale hydrological modeling only very limited information is available for simulating flow velocity. Based on the Manning-Strickler equation, a simple algorithm to model temporally and spatially variable flow velocity was developed with the objective of improving flow routing in the global hydrological model of WaterGAP. An extensive data set of flow velocity measurements in US rivers was used to test and to validate the algorithm before integrating it into WaterGAP. In this test, flow velocity was calculated based on measured discharge and compared to measured velocity. Results show that flow velocity can be modeled satisfactorily at selected river cross sections. It turned out that it is quite sensitive to river roughness, and the results can be optimized by tuning this parameter. After the validation of the approach, the tested flow velocity algorithm has been implemented into the WaterGAP model. A final validation of its effects on the model results is currently performed.

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Schulze, K. / Hunger, M. / Döll, P.: Simulating river flow velocity on global scale. 2005. Copernicus Publications.

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