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Overland flow computation with the characteristics method for a kinematic catchment model


This paper computes the depth profile and hydrograph for an overland flow on a slope under fixed rainfall intensity. The kinematic wave equation is used as the governing equation and solved by the method of characteristics. The excess rainfall required for the computation is obtained from Horton's infiltration rate equation. Though solutions of this approach are not exact, it has an advantage over the finite-difference numerical technique due to its simplicity. To demonstrate the ability of this approach, examples for depth profile and hydrograph are given for the rising and falling limbs of a storm rainfall.

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Leu, J.M., Liu, C.L. Overland flow computation with the characteristics method for a kinematic catchment model. Water Resour Manage 2, 269–288 (1988).

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Key words

  • Horton's infiltration equation
  • kinematic catchment model
  • characteristics method
  • overland flow