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Linking Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences in Continental Water Dynamics Modeling


David Cedric

Atmospheric observation and model output datasets as well as hydrologic datasets are increasingly becoming available on a continental scale. Although the availability of these datasets could allow large-scale water dynamics modeling, the different objects and semantics used in atmospheric science and hydrology set barriers to their interoperability. Recent work has demonstrated the feasibility for modeling terrestrial water dynamics for the continental United States of America. Continental water dynamics defines the interaction of the hydrosphere, the land surface and subsurface at spatial scales ranging from point to continent. The improved version of the National Hydrographic Dataset (NHDPlus, an integrated suite of geospatial datasets stored in a vector and raster GIS format) was used as hydrologic and elevation data input to the Noah community Land Surface Model, developed at NCAR. Noah was successfully run on a watershed in the Ohio River Basin with NHDPlus inputs. The use of NHDPlus as input data for Noah is a crucial improvement for community modeling efforts allowing users to by-pass much of the time consumed in Digital Elevation Model and hydrological network processing. Furthermore, the community Noah land surface model, in its hydrologically-enhanced configuration, is capable of providing flow inputs for a river dynamics model. Continued enhancement of Noah will, as a consequence, be beneficial to the atmospheric science community as well as to the hydrologic community. Ongoing research foci include using a diversity of weather drivers as an input to Noah, and investigation of how to use land surface model outputs for river forecasting, using both the ArcHydro and OpenMI frameworks.