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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 1, issue 1
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 1, 55–69, 1997
© Author(s) 1997. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 1, 55–69, 1997
© Author(s) 1997. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

  31 Mar 1997

31 Mar 1997

"Blueprint" for the UP Modelling System for Large Scale Hydrology

J. Ewen J. Ewen
  • Water Resource Systems Research Laboratory, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK NE1 7RU

Abstract. There are at least two needs to be met by the current research efforts on large scale hydrological modelling. The first is for practical conceptual land-surface hydrology schemes for use with existing operational climate and weather forecasting models, to replace the overly simple schemes often used in such models. The second is for models of large scale hydrology which are properly sensitive to changes in physical properties and inputs measured (or predicted) over a wide range of scales, from the point-scale upwards, yet are simple enough in structure to be coupled to climate and weather forecasting models. Such models of large scale hydrology are needed for studying the environmental impact of pollution and changes in climate and land-use, especially the impact On water resources. The UP system (name derived from Upsealed Physically-based) is an attempt to satisfy the second need. It uses a physically-based approach and has a simple structure, yet incorporates sufficient information on sub-grid behaviour to make it a useful tool for the study of environmental impacts over a wide range of scales. The system uses a new approach to large scale modelling, giving physically-based predictions of hourly flows, storages, saturated areas, etc., for regions covering hundreds of thousands of square kilometres. The basic component of the system is the UP element. This has seven water storage compartments (one each for the snowpack, vegetation canopy, surface water, root zone, unsaturated percolation, interflow and groundwater) and allows all the main processes of the terrestrial phase of the hydrological cycle to be represented. A region is modelled as a collection of UP elements, linked by a river routing scheme. Each compartment represents a fixed zone within the area covered by the UP element, and each is related to a physical process such as groundwater flow. Most of the parameterizations for the compartments are in the form of look-up tables, linking the outputs from the compartments to state variables such as the current storage in the compartment. These parameterizations are, in the main, derived from results from physically-based, distributed models applied to the zones (e.g. a groundwater compartment is parameterized using a groundwater model). For large regions modelled using many UP elements, the UP parameters are regionalized using a classification scheme, thus reducing the overall effort spent in parameterization. The development of the UP system is a long-term project involving research into physically-based parameterization of large scale hydrology models, including the effects of sub-grid spatial variations. The first stage involved developing a "blueprint" for the UP element, based on experience with physically-based, distributed river basin modelling and reviews of existing techniques and modelling approaches for large scale and linked atmosphere-hydrology modelling. This paper describes the UP element and the concepts and ideas behind the development of the UP system and, briefly, describes some of the research and development work currently in progress on UP and its parameterization.

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