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Streamflow Simulation by SWAT Using Different Precipitation Sources in Large Arid Basins with Scarce Raingauges

Abstract

Streamflow from the mountains is the main source of water for the lower plain in arid regions. Accurate simulation of streamflow is of great importance to the arid ecosystem. However, many large arid drainage basins in northwestern China have low density of precipitation stations, which makes the streamflow modeling and prediction very difficult. Based on raingauge data and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) data combined with raingauge data, different approaches were explored for spatializing precipitation in large area with scarce raingauges. Spatialized precipitation was then input into Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), a semi-distributed hydrological model, to simulate streamflow. Results from a case study in the Manas river basin showed that simulated hydrographs using both the approaches are able to reproduce the watershed hydrological behavior. Moreover, statistical assessment indicated that hydrological model driven by the spatialized precipitation based on radar combined with raingauge data performed better than that based on gauge data. Radar precipitation estimator can provide a practical data source for hydrological modeling at a basin scale where the raingauge network is sparse.

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Correspondence to Xi Chen.

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Yu, M., Chen, X., Li, L. et al. Streamflow Simulation by SWAT Using Different Precipitation Sources in Large Arid Basins with Scarce Raingauges. Water Resour Manage 25, 2669 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-011-9832-z

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Keywords

  • Streamflow
  • SWAT
  • Radar data
  • Raingauge data
  • Manas river basin