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1.1 General

Hydrological models are used to represent temporal and spatial processes of the
hydrological cycle at a basin scale. These models are also useful in identifying sensitive
parameters for basin response for the sub hydrological models A variety of distributed
hydrological models are available of which some are integrated within a Geographical
Information System environment for predicting watershed water balance components
(Arnold et al., 1998; Beasley and Huggins, 1981; Beven and Kirkby, 1979; Young et al.,


Water is essence of all forms of life on the earth. Water is the essential limited natural
resource for all life forms on the planet for their growth and sustenance; production of food,
economic development, social well being. Water is one of the unique natural resource
capable of being transported, diverted, stored and recycled , these properties of water
imparts itself as a great utility for agro-socio-economic development to the mankind. The
water resource is being over utilized to cater the increasing agriculture and human demands
in order to maintain the food security of a region. Water allocation priorities according to
National Water Policy of India, 2002 are: (i) drinking water, (ii) irrigation, (iii) hydropower,
(iv) ecology, (v) agro-industries and nonagricultural industries, and (vi) navigation.
Traditionally the water resource allocation was focused mainly upon human and agricultural
needs ignoring the environmental sustainability leading to diversions and variations in the
natural flow regime. These variations in the natural flow of water has led to massive loss of
wetlands, decline of riparian’s, unauthorized cultivation practices in the river beds and banks
aquatic species, etc. Recent studies highlight trend of increasing global awareness in
maintaining the hydrology (flow regime) that acts as a key driver in maintaining the ecology
of aquatic ecosystem including wetlands land cover in a watershed the flow cycles as
flooding and drying that are critical for sustaining variety of plants and animals, recognizing
the need for making provision for the environmental requirements. Rivers are also the water

users, and has to have an untouchable reserve which has led to the concept of the ecological
flow that emphasized on maintaining a flow that resembles the natural flow regime is
critically important in sustaining the native biodiversity and ecosystem integrity in aquatic
ecosystems, trying to cater the environmental water requirements while ensuring the
availability of water to the basic domestic needs. Indisputably, it is the presence of this
blissful element that marks the flow of life and energy throughout the planet. The existence
of water in three phases of solid, liquid and gas circulates both water and heat in atmosphere
.The following figure (Fig 1.1) is a pictorial representation of hydrological cycle and its
constituent processes.

Fig.1.1. The Hydrologic Cycle (Pidwirn M., 2006)

The hydrological cycle is a complex and dynamic system that is strongly interconnected
with the energy and biogeochemical cycles (Hagemann, 2011; Pagano and Sorooshian,
2006). It describes the continuous movement and retention of water through and in the
Earth’s spheres, driven by solar energy and gravitation (Brooks et al., 2012). A general
scheme of the hydrological cycle, its components and fluxes is depicted in Fig. 1. As it
illustrates, major reservoirs as ice and snow, surface water, soil, groundwater, ocean and
atmosphere are interconnected by physical processes such as precipitation, evaporation and
runoff. These processes cover various spatial scales and are highly variable in time and
space (Hagemann, 2011) In general, atmospheric water vapor precipitates on the Earth’s
surface, eventually flows as runoff to the ocean or inland water sinks while being transferred
through the soil, the ground and/or surface water bodies, and finally evaporates again.

Thereby, water fluxes and storage conditions are strongly interconnected and influenced by
various climatic and physio-geographic factors. For instance, dependent on temperature,
precipitation most commonly occurs as rain or snow, but also includes drizzle, sleet, hail,
and in a broader sense fog, dew and frost. Besides temperature, also wind, topography,
vegetation and physical obstructions determine the deposition and accumulation of snow and
ice. Whether snowmelt and liquid precipitation infiltrate depends on various factors such as
the moisture status of the soil, its maximum water-holding capacity, the network and size of
pores within the soil matrix, the condition of the soil surface including the vegetation cover,
as well as rainfall and snow melt rate (Blume et al., 2010). Additionally, human activities
influence the hydrological cycle among others by building reservoirs, withdrawal from
water storages, or land-use activities that modify vegetation and water bodies, which in turn
influences for instance evapotranspiration and the distribution of snow (Brooks et al., 2012).

While its allocation in storage or circulation varies in time, the mass of water remains
constant on the global scale. Thus, the components of the hydrological cycle can be
estimated for a distinct area by the water balance (Fig. 1). Accordingly, input by
precipitation P equals the output represented by evapotranspiration ET (comprising
transpiration, evaporation from interception, bare soil and open water surfaces) and stream
flow Q (including surface runoff, interflow and base flow) and the change of storages
ΔTWS such as ice, snow, soil moisture, ground water and surface water bodies (Schmidt et
al., 2008). The exchange of water between various geo-spheres of the Earth involves flow of
energy and fluxes of water, also including, several other chemical elements. The climatic
change implications exert huge impact on the hydrologic cycle. The hydrology of an area is
a representation of not only its physical, chemical and biological processes but also its
distinguished relation with the rest of the world in terms of its tradition, means of living,
basic occupation etc. Thus, studying the hydrology of a catchment and analyzing the
hydrologic components becomes a quantifying tool in quantifying, managing and preserving
the resources of the region efficiently. The important hydrologic components of the
catchment are precipitation, infiltration, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, soil depth, storage
water, base flow and runoff. The watershed at the regional scale is generally considered to
be the most logical geographical unit of stream flow analysis and water resources
management as it is efficient to monitor the hydrologic simulation at regional level. Water

budget is a means of accounting for all the water that flows in and out of a watershed. Water
balance equation is the scientific method for measuring the amount of water entering, stored
within and leaving a watershed. It is represented mathematically as:

Q = P – ΔS – ET


P is precipitation,

Q is surface runoff,

ET is evapotranspiration, and

S is storage in the control volume.

1.2 Hydrologic Simulation

Hydrological modeling is one of the efficient ways for consistently analyzing the long term
hydrologic pattern of the basin and carrying out various behavioral studies. The hydrologic
components as discussed above are modeled by mathematical representations known as
hydrological models. Hydrologic models can be distinguished into deterministic and
stochastic models, lumped and distributed models. Traditional water balance approach is
lumped. However, all hydrological models are imperfect representations of reality and have
their own merits and limitations. Many parameters are observable (e.g. basin area, slope,
elevation, vegetation type) although some parameters are unobservable. AVSWAT (Arc
View Soil and Water Assessment Tool), HEC-RAS (Hydrologic Engineering Centre- River
Analysis System), MIKE-SHE, Variable infiltration Capacity model, HEC-HMS
(Hydrologic Engineering Centre-Hydrologic Modeling System) are some of the physically
based distributed hydrologic models. In the present study the Variable Infiltration Capacity
(VIC) land surface hydrologic model has been used for modeling water balance and river
flow regime. Hydrological models serve a range of purposes but they are used primarily to
estimate runoff from sequences of rainfall and the meteorological information needed to
estimate potential evaporation. They can be used to estimate river flows at ungauged sites,

fill gaps in broken records or extend flow records with respect to longer records of rainfall
and to evaluate the impacts of external influences (such as climate change) (Mishra, 2008).
There are many simulation models in use; the skill is in selecting the right model for the job
and balancing data requirements against the cost of model implementation. Hydrologic
model value lies in its ability, when correctly chosen and adjusted to extract the maximum
amount of information from the available data in order to provide reliable information for
managing water resources in a sustained manner.

1.3 Hydrological Models

To gain a better understanding of hydrologic phenomena and how these are affected by
changes in climate and land use, the complex hydrological cycle can be represented in
simplified terms by mathematical models. The following section provides an overview on
different types of these hydrological models as well as their features regarding macro-scale

1.3.1 Types of Hydrological Models

Local to regional modeling of the hydrological cycle and its components has a long tradition
in hydrological science and a variety of hydrological models (HM) have been developed.
Numerous attempts to classify these HMs exist, where the most often used classification
methods depend on the physical process description and the spatial discretization
(Refsgaard, 1996; Xu, 2002).

Fig.1.2. A classification of hydrologic models

This flow chart i.e figure 1.2 shows the classification of hydrological model like symbolic
model, material model etc.

1.3.2 Material models

A material model (also called a physical model in the literature, e.g. Chow et al, 1988) is the
representation of the real system by another system, which has similar properties but is
much easier to work with. Material (physical) models can be classified as iconic, scale, or
"look-alike" models and analog models. A scale model represents the system on a reduced
scale and bears a physical resemblance to the prototype system. Examples in this class may
include laboratory watersheds, lysimeters, and hydraulic model of a dam spillway. Analog
models measure different physical substances than the prototype (i.e. use another physical
system having properties similar to those of the prototype), such as flow of electric current
which represents the flow of water. An analog model does not physically resemble the
prototype but depends on the correspondence between the symbolic models describing the
prototype and the analog system. Material models are useful in the following cases: 1). They
may assist the researcher in replacing a phenomenon in an unfamiliar field. 2). A material
model may permit experiments to be conducted under more favorable conditions than would

be normally available with the prototype system. A material model that does not involve a
change in scale may still be valuable because experiments can be carried out more
conveniently or can be repeated at will. Some experimental watershed systems installed in
the NOPEX project area can be considered to be of prototype scale.

1.3.2 Symbolic or Formal models

A formal model (also called an abstract model in the literature, e.g. Chow et al., 1988) is a
symbolic expression in logical terms of an idealized, relatively simple situation sharing the
structural properties of the original system. Symbolic models can be variously expressed, in
this course we are concerned with symbolic models of mathematical nature. A mathematical
model expresses the system behavior by a set of equations, perhaps together with logical
statements expressing relationships between variables and parameters In order to classify
models it is necessary to consider what features they have in common and the respects in
which they differ. The most important terms, which are often seen in the hydrological
literature, are explained in the following paragraphs.

1.3.3 The distinction between theoretical, conceptual and empirical models

Theoretical models (sometimes called white-box models or physically-based models)

presumably are the consequences of the most important laws governing the phenomena. A
theoretical model has a logical structure similar to the real-world system and may be helpful
under changed circumstances. Examples of theoretical models may include watershed runoff
models based on St. Venant equations, infiltration models based on two phase flow theory of
porous media (Morel-Seytoux, 1978), evaporation models based on theories of turbulence
and diffusion (Brutsaert and Mawdsley, 1976), and groundwater models based on
fundamental transport equations (Freeze, 1971). An example of physically-based models is
the SHE model (Abbott et al., 1986). Empirical models (sometimes called black-box models
or input output models) do not aid in physical understanding. They contain parameters that
may have little direct physical significance and can be estimated only by using concurrent
measurements of input and output. Examples are stochastic time series models. In many
situations, empirical models can yield accurate answers and can, therefore, serve a useful
tool in decision-making. The ARMA (autoregressive moving average model) and other time

series models are examples of this class. Conceptual models (sometimes called grey-box
models) are intermediate between theoretical and empirical models. Hydrologic models are
here considered as conceptual if the form of the function of equation is, suggested by
consideration of the physical processes acting upon the input variable(s) to produce the
output variable(s). Generally, conceptual models consider physical laws but in highly
simplified form. They are very many models belong to this class; an example which is
familiar for us is the HBV model. All three types of mathematical models are useful but in
somewhat different circumstances. Each has its own effectiveness, depending upon the
objective of study, the degree of complexity of the problem, and the degree of accuracy
desired. There is no conflict between these models; they represent different levels of
approximation of reality.

1.3.4 The distinction between linearity and non-linearity in the system-theory sense
and in the statistical regression sense.

Models whether theoretical conceptual or empirical may be linear or non-linear. Usage of

the term linearity has at least two meanings. A model is linear in the system theory sense
(LST) if the principle of superposition holds: that is, given that y1(t), y2(t) are the outputs
corresponding to inputs x1(t), x2(t), a model is LST if the output corresponding to input
x1(t)+x2(t) is y1(t)+y2(t). This is the sense in which linearity is most widely used in the
literature. However, linearity has an alternative meaning; the model is linear in the statistical
regression sense (LSR) if it is linear in the parameters to be estimated, and it is in this sense
that it is used by mathematical modelers in fields other than hydrology. Thus if input x(t)
and output y(t) were related by the equation y = a + bx + cx2, this model is linear in
statistical regression sense, but non-linear in the system-theory sense; the converse is true
for y = a + x/b.

1.3.5 The distinction between time-invariant and time-variant models

A model is time-invariant if its input-output relationship does not change with time. The
form of the output depends only on the form of the input and not on the time at which the
input is applied. Models do not have this property are called time-variant. Most hydrologic

systems are time-variant due to variations in solar activity during the day and seasonal
variations during the year. For simplicity, they are assumed to be time invariant.

1.3.6 The distinction between lumped and distributed models

In terms of spatial discretization or resolution we can identify an ascending scale of

sophistication beginning with lumped models treating the complete basin as a homogeneous
whole, through semi-distributed models, which attempt to calculate flow contributions from
separate areas or sub-basins that are treated as homogeneous within themselves, to fully
distributed models, in which the whole basin is divided into elementary unit areas like a grid
net and flows are passed from one grid point (node) to another as water drains through the
basin (Fig. 1.3). Becker and Serban (1990) further distinguished spatial variability of the
models into geometrically-distributed models, which express spatial variability in terms of
the orientation of the network points one to another and their distance apart, and probability-
distributed models describe the spatial variability without reference to the geometrical
configuration of the points in the network at which an input variable such as rainfall is
measured, or for which a model parameter is to be measured or estimated. For example, the
Stanford watershed model (Crawford and Linsley, 1966) is of this type. It is assumed that
infiltration capacity at any time varies over the segment. For lack of better information this
variation is assumed to be linear.

Fig.1.3. Graphic representation of geometrically – distributed and lumped models. (from
Jones, 1997). I is input and O is output

Figure 1.3 show graphical representation of geometrically distributed and lumped models.

1.3.7 The distinction between deterministic and stochastic models

If any of the variables xytt,, ε t in equation (1.8) are regarded as random variables having
distributions in probability, then the model is a stochastic model: stochastic, rather than
statistical (probabilistic), to emphasize the time-dependence of the hydrological variables
related by the model. If all variables in equation (1.8) are regarded as free from random
variation, so that none is thought of as having a distribution in probability, then the model is
here regarded as deterministic..

1.3.8 Summary on classification

The two most often used classification methods are that according to the description of the
physically processes hydrological models may be classified as conceptual and physically
based, and according to the spatial description of catchment processes as lumped and
distributed. In this respect, two typical model types are lumped conceptual and the
distributed physically based ones. Typical examples of lumped conceptual model codes are

the Stanford watershed model (Crawford and Linsley, 1966), the HBV model (Bergström,
1976) and the Sacramento (Burnash, 1995). Typical models of distributed physically based
are the SHE bott et al., 1986a,b), the IHDM (Beven et al., 1987) and the Thales (Grayson et
al., 1992a,b). A code such as TOPMODEL (Beven and Kirkby, 1979) may by characterized
as conceptual distributed.

1.4 Objective of the study

Therefore after considering all the types of hydrological modeling , an attempt has made to
study the working and verification of Vic model over Kaveri basin with the following
objectives –

1. To delineate the basin Kaveri of using Arc gis for the primary input for the model.
2. To study the precipitation , maximum temperature, minimum temperature , average
temperature and runoff for the input to the model.
3. To test the working of Vic model and verify its working over the given basin for a
given time period i.e from the year 1992 to 1996.
4. To analyze the base flow and simulated runoff using the model.

1.5 Need of the study

1. Helps in representing surface energy and hydrological fluxes for the river basin.
2. By knowing the base flow and runoff one can plan for possible flood management
over the region.


Arnell et.aL. (1992) studied the factors controlling the effects of climate change on river
flow regimes in a humid temperate environment. The study used a monthly water balance
model to examine the factors controlling the effects of climate change on catchments in the
UK. Fifteen case study catchments representing a range of climatic and geological
conditions were used together with a number of realistic climate change scenarios. The
effects of climate change on average annual runoff depend on the ratio of average annual
runoff to average annual rainfall, with the greatest sensitivity in the driest catchments with
lowest runoff coefficients. The greater the concentration of a given annual rainfall changes
in winter, the greater the effect of that change on runoff. Several different empirical
formulae gave results inconsistent with those from the monthly water balance model.
Changes in monthly runoff are controlled by catchment geology and the current summer
balance between rainfall and potential evapotranspiration. A catchment where summer
rainfall is currently close to potential evapotranspiration shows the greatest proportional
change in runoff in summer, whilst flows in catchments with large groundwater storages
may be maintained even during warmer, drier summers if winter rainfall increases.

Arnell and Reynard (1996) accessed the effects of climate change due to global Warming on
river flows in Great Britain. Global warming due to an increasing concentration of
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will affect temperature and rainfall, and hence river
flows and water resources. This paper presents results from an investigation into potential
changes in river flows in 21 catchments in Great Britain, using a daily rainfall-runoff model
and both equilibrium and transient climate change scenarios. Annual runoff was simulated to
increase by 2050 by over 20% in the wettest scenarios and decline by over 20% in the driest
scenarios — and different catchments respond differently to the same change scenario.
Monthly flows change by a greater percentage than annual flows, and under all the scenarios
considered there would be a greater concentration of flow in winter. Snowfall, and hence
snowmelt, would be almost entirely eliminated. Progressive changes in river flows over the
next few decades would be small compared with year-to-year variability, but would be
noticeable on a decade-to-decade basis. Anderson et al. (1976) studied the land use and
land cover classification system for use with remote sensor data. The framework of a
national land use and land cover classification system is presented for use with remote
sensor data. The classification system has been developed to meet the needs of Federal and
State agencies for an up-to-date overview of land use and land cover throughout the country
on a basis that is uniform in categorization at the more generalized first and second levels
and that will be receptive to data from satellite and aircraft remote sensors. The proposed
system uses the features of ·existing widely used classification systems that are amenable to
data derived from remote sensing sources. It is intentionally l·eft open-ended so that Federal,
regional, State, and local agencies can have flexibility in developing more detailed land use
classifications at the third and fourth levels in order to meet their particular needs and at the
time remain compatible with each other and the national system.

Barnett et .al studied the potential impacts of a warming climate on water availability in
snow-dominated regions. All currently available climate models predict a near-surface
warming trend under the influence of rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In
addition to the direct effects on climate--for example, on the frequency of heatwaves--this
increase in surface temperatures has important consequences for the hydrological cycle,
particularly in regions where water supply is currently dominated by melting snow or ice. In
a warmer world, less winter precipitation falls as snow and the melting of winter snow
occurs earlier in spring. Even without any changes in precipitation intensity, both of these
effects lead to a shift in peak river runoff to winter and early spring, away from summer and
autumn when demand is highest. Where storage capacities are not sufficient, much of the
winter runoff will immediately be lost to the oceans. With more than one-sixth of the Earth's
population relying on glaciers and seasonal snow packs for their water supply, the
consequences of these hydrological changes for future water availability--predicted with
high confidence and already diagnosed in some regions--are likely to be severe.

Christensen (2004) assessed the effects of climate change on the hydrology and
water resources of the Colorado River Basin. Climatic Change. The potential effects of
climate change on the hydrology and water resources of the Colorado River basin are
assessed by comparing simulated hydrologic and water resources scenarios derived from
downscaled climate simulations of the U.S. Department of Energy/National Center for

Atmospheric Research Parallel Climate Model (PCM) to scenarios driven by observed
historical (1950–1999) climate. PCM climate scenarios include an ensemble of three 105-
year future climate simulations based on projected ‘business-as-usual’ (BAU) greenhouse
gas emissions and a control climate simulation based on static 1995 greenhouse gas
concentrations. Downscaled transient temperature and precipitation sequences were
extracted from PCM simulations, and were used to drive the Variable Infiltration Capacity
(VIC) macroscale hydrology model to produce corresponding streamflow sequences.
Results for the BAU scenarios were summarized into Periods 1, 2, and 3 (2010–2039, 2040–
2069, 2070–2098). Average annual temperature changes for the Colorado River basin were
0.5 ◦C warmer for control climate, and 1.0, 1.7, and 2.4 ◦C warmer for Periods 1–3,
respectively, relative to the historical climate. Basin-average annual precipitation for the
control climate was slightly (1%) less than for observed historical climate, and 3, 6, and 3%
less for future Periods 1–3, respectively.

Fiorentino (1996). have studied the geographical information systems in hydrology. The last
few years have witnessed an enormous interest in application of GIS in hydrology and water
resources. This is partly evidenced by organization of sev- eral national and international
symposia or conferences under the sponsorship of various professional organizations. This
increased interest is, in a large measure, in response to growing public sensitivity to
environmental quality and management. The GIS technology has the ability to capture,
store, manipulate, analyze, and visualize the diverse sets of geo-referenced data. On the
other hand, hydrology is inherently spatial and distributed hydrologic models have large data
requirements. The integration of hydrology and GIS is therefore quite natural. The
integration involves three major components: (1) spatial data construction, (2) integration of
spatial model layers, and (3) GIS and model interface. GIS can assist in design, calibration,
modification and comparison of models. This integration is spreading worldwide and is
expected to accelerate in the foreseeable future. Substantial op- portunities exist in
integration of GIS and hydrology. We believe there are enough challenges in use of GIS for
conceptualizing and modeling complex hydrologic processes and for globalization of
hydrology. The motivation for this book grew out of the desire to provide under one cover a
range of applications of GIS technology in hydrology.

Francini and Pacciani (1991) have analyzed several conceptual rainfallrunoff models. . The
aim of the present study is to compare some of the most well-known conceptual rainfall
runoff models. The study is not limited to verifying the ability of the various models to
reproduce the measured flow rates, but also supplies a frame of reference for the structure
and the connection between the conceptual blocks characteristic of each model, their
influence in the overall representation of the effects on the closure section and the ease of
calibration and estimation of the parameters, as well as their physical interpretation. The
analysis was carried out using data for the Sieve watershed (an affluent of the Arno River),
for which precipitation, temperature, and hourly flow rate values were available for a four-
month period.

Colrand et al. (2000) have stimulated SST, sea ice extents and ocean heat transport in a
version of the Hadley Centre coupled model without flux adjustments. Results are presented
from a new version of the Hadley Centre coupled model (HadCM3) that does not require
flux adjustments to prevent large climate drifts in the simulation. The model has both an
improved atmosphere and ocean component. In particular, the ocean has a 1.25° × 1.25°
degree horizontal resolution and leads to a considerably improved simulation of ocean heat
transports compared to earlier versions with a coarser resolution ocean component. The
model does not have any spin up procedure prior to coupling and the simulation has been
run for over 400 years starting from observed initial conditions. The sea surface temperature
(SST) and sea ice simulation are shown to be stable and realistic. The trend in global mean
SST is less than 0.009 °C per century. In part, the improved simulation is a consequence of a
greater compatibility of the atmosphere and ocean model heat budgets.

Groisman et al.have studied the trends in precipitation in the climate record. Observed
changes in intense precipitation (e.g., the frequency of very heavy precipitation or the upper
0.3% of daily precipitation events) have been analyzed for over half of the land area of the
globe. These changes have been linked to changes in intense precipitation for three transient
climate model simulations, all with greenhouse gas concentrations increasing during the
twentieth and twenty-first centuries and doubling in the later part of the twenty-first century.

It was found that both the empirical evidence from the period of instrumental observations
and model projections of a greenhouse-enriched atmosphere indicate an increasing
probability of intense precipitation events for many extra tropical regions including the
United States.

Harding (2012) studied the implications of climate change scenario selection for future
stream flow projection in the Upper Colorado River Basin. The impact of projected 21st
century climate conditions on streamflow in the Upper Colorado River Basin was estimated
using a multi-model ensemble approach wherein the downscaled outputs of 112 future
climate projections from 16 global climate models (GCMs) were used to drive a macroscale
hydrology model. By the middle of the century, the impacts on streamflow range, over the
entire ensemble, from a decrease of approximately 30% to an increase of approximately the
same magnitude. Although prior studies and associated media coverage have focused
heavily on the likelihood of a drier future for the Colorado River Basin, approximately 25 to
35% of the ensemble of runs, by 2099 and 2039, respectively, result in no change or
increases in streamflow . The broad range of projected impacts is primarily the result of
uncertainty in projections of future precipitation, and a relatively small part of the variability
of precipitation across the projections can be attributed to the effect of emissions pathways.

Manabe (1988) have analyzed two stable equilibria of a coupled ocean-atmosphere
model. Two stable equilibria have been obtained from a global model of the coupled ocean-
atmosphere system developed at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of NOAA.
The model used for this study consists of general circulation models of the atmosphere and
the world oceans and a simple model of land surface. Starting from two different initial
conditions, “asynchronous” time integrations of the coupled model, under identical
boundary conditions, lead to two stable equilibria. In one equilibrium, the North Atlantic
Oman has a vigorous thermohaline circulation and relatively saline and warm surface water.
In the other equilibrium, there is no thermohaline circulation, and an intense halocline exists
in the surface layer at high latitudes. In both integration the, air-sea exchange of water is
adjusted to remove a systematic bias of the model that surpresses the thermohaline
circulation in the North Atlantic. Nevertheless these results raise the intriguing possibility
that the coupled system may have at least two equilibria. They also suggest that the

themohaline overturning in the North Atlantic is mainly responsible for making the surface
salinity of the northern North Atlantic higher than that of the northern North Pacific. Finally,
a discussion is made on the paleoclimatic implications of these results for the large and
abrupt transition between the Alleröd and Younger Dryas events which occurred about 11,
000 years ago.

Sherman (1932) have analyzed stream flow from rainfall by the unit-graph method. The
frequent occurrence of exceptionally very heavy rainfall in Mexico during the summer
causes flash floods in many areas and major economic losses. As a consequence, a
significant part of the annual government budget is diverted to the reconstruction of the
disasters caused by floods every year, resulting hold up in the country development. A key
element to mitigate the flash flood hazards is the implementation of an early warning system
with the ability to process the necessary information in the shortest possible time, in order to
increase structural and non-structural resilience in flood prone regions. The real-time
estimation of rainfall is essential for the implementation of such systems and the use of
remote sensing instruments that feed the operational rainfall-runoff hydrological models is
becoming of increasing importance worldwide.

Todini (1988) has analyzed rainfall-runoff modeling of past, present and future. A brief
review of the historical development of mathematical methods used in rainfall-runoff
modeling is presented. A simple classification of the current available models based upon
both a priori knowledge and problem requirements is proposed in order to assess the state of
the art. Finally an analysis of emerging problems in hydrology is used to ascertain possible
future developments and trends.

Vörösmarty et al . (1989) have analyzed continental scale models of water balance and
fluvial transport: an application to South America. This study demonstrated the potential for
applying passive microwave satellite sensor data to infer the discharge dynamics of large
river systems using the main stem Amazon as a test case. The methodology combines (1)
interpolated ground‐based meteorological station data, (2) horizontally and vertically
polarized temperature differences (HVPTD) from the 37‐GHz scanning multichannel

microwave radiometer (SMMR) aboard the Nimbus 7 satellite, and (3) a calibrated water
balance/water transport model (WBM/WTM). Monthly HVPTD values at 0.25° (latitude by
longitude) resolution were resampled spatially and temporally to produce an enhanced
HVPTD time series at 0.5° resolution for the period May 1979 through February 1985.
Enhanced HVPTD values were regressed against monthly discharge derived from the
WBM/WTM for each of 40 grid cells along the main stem over a calibration period from
May 1979 to February 1983 to provide a spatially contiguous estimate of time‐varying
discharge. HVPTD‐estimated flows generated for a validation period from March 1983 to
February 1985 were found to be in good agreement with both observed arid modeled
discharges over a 1400‐km section of the main stem Amazon. This span of river is bounded
downstream by a region of tidal influence and upstream by low sensor response associated
with dense forest canopy. Both the WBM/WTM and HVPTD‐derived flow rates reflect the
significant impact of the 1982–1983 El Niño‐;Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event on water
balances within the drainage basin.

Wood (1992) has studied land-surface hydrology parameterization with sub grid
variability for general circulation models. Biosphere‐atmosphere models that include the
transfer of energy, mass, and momentum between the atmosphere and the land surface are a
recent alternative to this highly simplified representation of the land surface in GCMs. These
models require estimation of a large number of parameters for which parameter estimation
methods and supporting data remain to be developed. We describe a more incremental
approach to generalizing the bucket representation of land‐surface hydrology based on a
model that represents the variation in infiltration capacity within a GCM grid cell. The
variable infiltration capacity (VIC) model requires estimation of three parameters: an
infiltration parameter, an evaporation parameter, and a base flow recession coefficient. The
VIC model was explored through direct comparisons with the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
Laboratory (GFDL) bucket model for the French Broad River, North Carolina, and via
sensitivity analysis for the GFDL R30 grid cell which contains the French Broad River.

3.1 Introduction to VIC model:

Variable infiltration capacity model is a macro scale hydrological model designed to

represent surface energy and hydrological fluxes and states at scales from large river basins
to the entire globe. It is grid based semi distributed hydrological model which quantifies the
dominant hydro-meteorological process taking place at the land surface atmospheric
interface. Typically grid resolution ranges from 1/8 to 2 degree . VIC computes the vertical
energy and moisture flux in grid cell based on specification at each grid cell considering soil
properties and vegetation coverage. Also it includes the representation of sub grid variability
in soil infiltration capacity and all mosaic of vegetation classes in any grid cell.

The resulted runoff and base flow is routed via a separate channel routing module to produce
stream flow at selected point within the domain. Figure 3.1 illustrates the Schema of
Variable Infiltration Capacity model. VIC- 2L model was modified to VIC-3L by adding
one thin surface layer along with a canopy layer to achieve better representation of bare soil
evaporation processes after small summer rain fall event.

Fig.3.1. Schema of Variable Infiltration Capacity

3.2 Major components of VIC model

3.2.1 Vegetation cover

VIC model surface is described by N+1 land cover types where n=1,…N represents N
different vegetation and n=N+1 represents bare soil. All information related to vegetation is
represented by vegetation library and vegetation parameter file. The land cover (vegetation)
classes are specified by the fraction of the grid cell which they occupy, with their leaf area
index (LAI), canopy resistance, surface albedo and relative fraction of roots in each of the
soil layers.. According to the vegetation cover type within a grid cell infiltration, moisture
flux between the soil layers and runoff are computed. Surface runoff and base flow are
computed separately considering each vegetation type and then summed over the
composition vegetation within each grid cell.

3.2.2 Soil layers

Soil characteristics can be represented for a user defined number of vertical layers usually
two or three as seen .Soil parameters for each grid and soil layer is specified in user defined
soil parameter file. Rainfall VIC model considers the sub-grid variability of precipitation
which is distributed throughout all or a portion of grid cell as a function of rainfall intensity.
Precipitation distribution can be expressed as follows,
µ = (1-e –al)
I = Precipitation intensity
a = coefficient which describes the effect of grid cell size and geography Change in
precipitation intensity of a storm changes the fractional coverage accordingly. When
intensity increases, the fractional coverage over a grid cell increases and when decreased
fractional coverage decreases. Before the occurrence of a storm the soil water content
throughout the grid cell is set to average. However, forcing data plays an important role and
accordingly simulation can be done hourly, 3 hourly, daily or monthly.

3.2.3 Snow cover

VIC model is also capable of doing reliable simulation of snow pack process across a wide
range of grid resolution in high altitude areas. Effect of vegetation cover on snow
accumulation and melt is described internally within the VIC model through a coupled snow

3.2.4 Evapotranspiration

Three types of evaporation which are evaporation from canopy layer of each vegetation
class, transpiration from each vegetation class and evaporation from the bare soil are
considered to calculate total evapotranspiration over a grid cell. Penman-Monteith formula
is used to calculate the evapotranspiration for each class.

3.2.5 Infiltration

This model assumes that infiltration capacity of the soil is not uniform. Hence runoff
generation and evaporation vary within an area owing to variations in topography, soil and
vegetation. It also considers that infiltration capacity is storage and not a rate. Sub grid
variability scheme in infiltration is used to account Variable Infiltration capacity. This uses a
spatial probability distribution to represent variable infiltration capacity as a function of
relative saturated area of the grid cell. VIC uses infiltration formula used in Xinanjang
model which assumes that precipitation in excess of the available infiltration capacity forms
surface runoff. Spatial variation of infiltration capacity is expressed as,
i = im [1-(1-A) 1/bi ]
i = Infiltration capacity up to which the soil is filled
im = Maximum infiltration capacity
A = represents the saturated fraction of the grid cell (0 = A = 1)
bi = shape parameter Maximum soil moisture of soil layer Wc1 is related to im and bi as,
Wc1 = im/1+bi
Also VIC model assumes that runoff is generated by areas where precipitation added to soil
moisture storage at the end of the previous time step exceeds the storage capacity of the soil.
Also there is no rate limitation mechanism in the model instead the formulation is a

surrogate for the saturation excess mechanism, as it leads to a fraction of saturated areas.
The direct runoff Qd from the fraction of saturated area is given by,
Qd = P-Wc1+ W1 - i0 + P > im
Qd = P-Wc1+ W1 - + Wc1(1- i0 p/im) i0 + P< im
W1- = soil moisture content in layer 1 at beginning of the time step
i0 = infiltration capacity of the saturated area. For bare soil, water balance layer is described
W1+ = W1 - + P – Qd – Q12– E
W1 + = Soil moisture content in layers at the end of each time step
Q12 = drainage from layer 1 to layer 2

Fig .3.2. Infiltration capacity graph

Figure 3.2 show the infiltration capacity graph of Vic model. Infiltration capacity is the
maximum rate at which water can enter soil. A graph showing the time-variation of
infiltration capacity if the supply were continually in excess of infiltration capacity is
infiltration capacity graph.

3.2.6 Base flow

Drainage between soils layers is gravity derived as well as unsaturated hydraulic

conductivity is a function of the degree of saturation of the soil. Base flow is derived as the
function of soil moisture in the lowest soil layer using Arno-non linear formula.

Fig. 3.4. Base flow graph
Here the figure 3.4 shows the base flow graph where base flow is the graph showing the
graph between baseflow and soil moisture. For Vic model baseflow graph is rising upwards
in the direction in parabolic manner.
Dm = Maximum base flow parameter
Ds = Fraction of Maximum base flow
Ws = Fraction of maximum soil moisture
Wc2 = Maximum soil moisture in layer 2
W2- = soil moisture at the beginning of time step in layer 2

3.2.7 Routing

Routing is used to predict the outflow hydrograph of watersheds subjected to a known

amount of precipitation. Routing model associated with VIC mainly consists of within grid
cell routing and routing between cells. Within grid routing component considers the time
required for produced runoff within a grid cell to reach an arbitrary outlet. The runoff
generated by VIC model for each grid cell is convolved with a discrete unit hydrograph,
R1=∑𝑖 Qj

R1 = internally routed runoff at the grid cell outlet

Qj = Run off outflow at Vic
I = Time step of unit hydrograph j = Time step of runoff time series
i = Total number of time steps in runoff time series
H = Unit hydrograph ordinates While routing between cells, the internally routed runoff R1
is transported downstream through the flow network after lagging with an effective velocity

of 1 ms-1 . The effective velocity is near the lower end of the range suggested by Susen. The
inclusion of the river routing model, developed by Lohmann et al. (1998a, b) permits
comparisons between the model-derived discharge and observations at gauging stations.

3.3 Meteorological Forcing

The VIC model is forced with observed surface meteorological data which include:
• precipitation (mm)
• temperature
• wind (m/s)
• vapor pressure
• incoming long wave radiation
• incoming shortwave radiation
• air pressure

3.4 Various modes of VIC model

3.4.1 Water Balance

Water balance mode assumes that land surface temperature equals air temperature.
Although it does not solve the full surface energy balance, exception is the snow algorithm
that still solves the surface energy balance to determine the fluxes needed to drive
accumulation and ablation processes. It requires comparatively less time for computation
than other modes due to removal of the ground heat flux solution and iterative procedure
needed to close the surface energy balance. The time step ranges from hourly to daily.
The daily water balance mode is significantly faster than sub-daily simulations. Parameters
required for daily solutions are different from those used for sub-daily solutions. Although
the daily water balance model can be used to simulate discharge from a basin, calibration
parameters for the daily water balance model are unlikely to be transferable to any model
run with a sub-daily time step. Usually daily water balance model experiences higher
evaporation, resulting in lower soil moistures and base flows.

3.4.2 Energy Balance

Full energy balance mode calculates all water and energy fluxes near the land surface, and
run time step may be one or three hours. The surface energy balance is closed by an iterative
process which tries to find a surface temperature which adjusts surface energy fluxes
(sensible heat, ground heat, ground heat storage, outgoing long wave and indirect latent
heat). Hence this mode requires more computational time than water balance as well as
require sub-daily simulation time step. Finally this mode simulates the surface energy
fluxes, which are important to understand the hydrologic cycle as well as land surface-
atmosphere interactions in a basin. It has been proved that moisture fluxes generated from
both energy balance and water balance modes are similar.

3.4.3 Frozen Soil

Frozen soil affects on both moisture and energy fluxes. It solves thermal fluxes at nodes
through the soil column using the finite difference method as well as it computes the
maximum unfrozen water content at each soil node based on the nodal temperature. Also ice
content for each soil moisture layer is computed from the nodal values and is used to restrict
infiltration and soil moisture drainage. In addition to that the nodal ice contents are also used
to derive the soil thermal conductivity and volumetric heat capacity for the next model time
step. It has been observed that frozen soil algorithm increases peak flows in the spring and
decreases base flow in the winters.

3.5 Specific features of VIC

As compared to other land surface models, VIC’s distinguishing hydrologic features are a)
VIC explicitly represents effects of multiple vegetation covers on water and energy budgets
and simultaneously solves full surface energy and water balances giving multiple outputs. b)
It represents of sub grid variability in soil moisture storage capacity as a spatial probability
distribution, to which surface runoff is related (Zhao et al., 1980). c) It incorporates the
representation of sub grid spatial variability of precipitation with the representation of
spatial variability of infiltration to simulate energy and water budgets (e.g., energy fluxes,
runoff, and soil moisture). d) It includes both the saturation and infiltration excess runoff

processes in a model grid cell with a consideration of the sub grid-scale soil heterogeneity
(Liang and Xie, 2001) and the frozen soil processes for cold climate conditions (Cherkauer
and Lettenmaier, 1999). e) It belongs to the category of surface vegetation atmospheric
transfer scheme (SVATS) and has ability to couple with Global Circulation Models (GCM)
and other Climate models.

3.6 Highlights of the VIC Model

In comparison to other land surface models, VIC’s distinguishing hydrologic features are:
.- It represents of sub grid variability in soil moisture storage capacity as a spatial probability
distribution, to which surface runoff is related (Zhao et al., 1980).
- It incorporates the representation of sub grid spatial variability of precipitation with the
representation of spatial variability of infiltration to simulate energy and water budgets (e.g.,
energy fluxes, runoff, and soil moisture).
- It includes both the saturation and infiltration excess runoff processes in a model grid cell
with a consideration of the sub grid-scale soil heterogeneity (Liang and Xie, 2001) and the
frozen soil processes for cold climate conditions (Cherkauer and Lettenmaier,
- It belongs to the category of surface vegetation atmospheric transfer scheme (SVATS) and
has ability to couple with Global Circulation Models (GCM) and other Climate models.

3.7 VIC Tool

Graphical User interface for VIC Hydrological model

The tool is specially designed to enable the VIC Model user to execute the processes of the
model in an efficient manner without going through the trouble of switching between
Windows OS and Linux OS. The primary functions performed by the tool are categorized as
a. Data preparation
b. Soil parameter preparation
c. Vegetation parameter preparation
d. Forcing preparation
e. Model execution

f. Water balance mode
g. Global parameter preparation
h. Model run
i. Result analysis
j. Tabular analysis



4.1 Study area

Kaveri also referred as Ponni, is an Indian river flowing through the states of Karnataka and
Tamil Nadu . It is the third largest after Godavari and Krishna in south India and the largest
in Tamil nadu which on its course, bisects the state into north and south. Originating in the
foothills of Western ghats at Talakaveri, Kodagu in Karnataka it flows generally south and
east through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and across the southern Deccan plateau through the
southeastern lowlands, emptying into the Bay of Bengal through two principal mouths in
Poompuhar, Tamil Nadu. Amongst the river valleys, the kaveri delta forms one of the most
fertile regions in the country.

Fig.4.1. kaveri basin

The kaveri basin is estimated to be 81,155 square kilometers (Fig.4.1) with many tributaries
including Harangi, Hemavati, Kabini, Bhavani, Arkavathy, Lakshmana Tirtha, Noyyal and
Arkavati. The river’s basin covers three states and a Union Territory as follows: Tamil

Nadu, 43,856 square kilometers; Karnataka, 34,273 square kilometers; Kerala 2866 square
kilometers and Puducherry 160 square kilometers. Rising in southwestern Karnataka , it
flows southeast some 800 kilometers to enter the Bay Bengal. In Mandya district it forms
the island of Shivanasamudra, on either side of which are the scenic Shivanasamudra Falls
that descend about 100 metres. The river is the source for an extensive irrigation system and
for hydroelectric power. The river has supported irrigated agriculture for centuries and
served as the lifeblood of the ancient kingdoms and modern cities of south India. Access to
the river’s waters has pitted Indian States and against each other for decades.

Fig. 4.2. Kaveri shape file

Figure 4.2 shows the shape file of kaveri basin. The shape file format is a popular geospatial
vector data format for geographic information software. It is developed and regulated by
Esri as a open specification for data interpretability.


After the river leaves the Kodagu hills and flows onto the Deccan plateau, it forms two
island in mandya district’s Srirangapatna and Shivanasamudra. First , comes the

Srirangapatna which forms the sangam and the comes Shivanasamudra. At Shivanasamudra
the river drop, forming the famous Shivanasamudra Falls known separately as Ganga
Chukki and Bhara Chukki . Asia’s first hydroelectric plant was on the left falls and supplied
power to the city of Bangalore. In its course through Karnataka, the channel is interrupted by
12 "anekattu" (dams) for the purpose of irrigation. From the Anekattu at Madadkatte, an
artificial channel is diverted at a distance of 116 kilometres (72 mi), irrigating an area of
4,000 hectares (10,000 acres), and ultimately bringing its water supply to the town of
Mandya. Three kilometers away from Srirangapatna, the Kaveri is the basis for the
Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary. Near Srirangapatna is also an aqueduct, the Bangara Doddi
Nala, which was constructed in the 17th century by the Wodeyar maharaja of Mysore,
Ranadhira Kantirava, in memory of his favorite consort. It is said to be the only aqueduct
where the water from a river, dammed upstream, is carried by the aqueduct over the very
same river few miles downstream [citation needed]. This aqueduct also served as a
motorable bridge until 1964.The kabini river tributary of Kaveri joins Kaveri at Tirumakudal
Narasipura where triveni sangama takesplace along with mythological river Spatika. The
Moyar River is an east flowing river originates in the Mudumalai, Bandipur, and Wayanad
National Parks draining the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and is one of the
tributaries to the Kaveri River.
The river enters Tamil Nadu through Dharmapuri district leading to the flat plains where it
meanders. It drops into the Hogenakkal Falls just before it arrives in the town of Hogenakkal
in Tamil Nadu. The three minor tributaries, Palar, Chinnar and Thoppar enter into the Kaveri
on her course, above Stanley Reservoir in Mettur, where the dam has been constructed. It
then flows further through the length of Erode district where the river Bhavani, running
through the breadth of the district, merges with it. The confluence of the rivers Kaveri,
Bhavani and Akash Ganga (mythological) is at the exact place of Bhavani, Tamil Nadu
Kooduthurai or Tiriveni Sangamam, Northern part of Erode City.
While passing through Erode, two more tributaries merge. Thirumani Mutharu joins it in a
village called Kududurai in Namakkal District. Noyyal and Amaravathi join it in Karur
district before it reaches Tiruchirapalli district. Here the river becomes wide, with a sandy
bed, and flows in an eastern direction until it splits into two at upper Anicut about 14
kilometers (9 mi) west of Tiruchirappalli. The northern branch of the river is called the

Kollidam while the southern branch retains the name Kaveri and then goes directly
eastwards into Thanjavur District. These two rivers join again and form the Srirangam island
that is a part of the city of Tiruchirapalli. The fourth oldest functional dam Grand Anicut or
Kallanai was present at this place. From Thanjavur, the river splits and goes to few places in
the Delta Kaveri.
• Harangi River
• Hemavati River
• Lakshmana Tirtha
• Kabini River
• Shimsha River
• Bhavani River
• Sarabanga River
• Noyyal River
• Amaravati River
• Kapila River

Fig. 4.3. Topography of Upper Cauvery basin and the location of the rain gauge stations


The primary uses of Kaveri are providing water for irrigation, water for household
consumption and the generation of electricity.
An estimate at the time of the first Five Year Plan puts the total flow of the Kaveri at 15
cubic kilometers (12,000,000 acre⋅ft), of which 60 percent was used for irrigation.
The Torekadanahalli pump station sends 540 million liters (19,000,000 cu ft) per day of
water from Kaveri 100 kilometers (62 mi) . The water for the Kaveri is primarily supplied
by monsoon rains. Dams, such as the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam, Mettur Dam, and those on
its tributaries such as Gorur dam, Harangi dam, Kabini dam, Amaravati dam and Banasura
Sagar Dam store water from monsoon periods and release the water during the dry months.
Even so, during the months of February–May, water levels are often quite low, and some
channels and distributaries riverbeds may become dry. Flow generally begins to increase in
June or July. However, in some years when rains are light, the low river level can lead to
agricultural distress in areas dependent upon the Kaveri for irrigation.
The hydroelectric plant built on the left of Sivanasamudra Falls on the Kaveri in 1902 was
the first hydroelectric plant in Asia.
The Krishna Raja Sagara Dam has a capacity of 49 tmc ft. and the Mettur Dam which
creates Stanley Reservoir has a capacity of 93.4 tmc ft. (thousand million cubic ft)
In August 2003, inflow into reservoirs in Karnataka was at a 29-year low, with a 58%
shortfall. Water stored in Krishna Raja Sagara amounted to only 4.6 tmc ft.


The predominant land use in the basin is agriculture (see figure 4.4). Agricultural fields and
forest areas cover more than 64.17% and 24.47% of the basin respectively. The water bodies
include reservoirs and tanks cover 3.9% of the basin. The barren rocky and scrub land cover
4.51% of the basin. The urban areas, industrial area and villages cover 2.95% of the basin.
The map and distribution of the land use obtained from KSRSAC are shown in figure.

Fig. 4.4. Land use/Land cover map of the upper Cauvery basin


4.5.1 Overview on Variable Infiltration Capacity Modeling Software

Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) is a large scale, semi distributed macro scale hydrologic
model; developed by Xu Liang at the University of Washington. It is capable of solving full
water and energy balances. It is considered as a research model. It is being successfully
functioned to different types of watersheds. It is to be mentioned here that VIC model and
the routing model were developed for use on LINUX and UNIX platforms. To use VIC
and/or the routing model on a Windows platform, it is recommended to download a free
UNIX emulator such as Cygwin and compiling, and running these models within this
emulator. The VIC model is written in C and typically compiled with the GNU gcc
compiler. In this study, VIC 4.0.6 will be used. Basic features of VIC are as follows:
1. The land surface is modeled as a grid of large (>1km), flat, uniform cells.
2. Inputs are time series of daily or sub-daily meteorological drivers (e.g. precipitation, air
temperature, wind speed).
3. Land-atmosphere fluxes, and the water and energy balances at the land surface, are
simulated at a daily or sub-daily time step.

4. Water can only enter a grid cell via the atmosphere.
5. Grid cells are simulated independently of each other, and entire simulation is run for each
grid cell separately, 1 grid cell at a time, rather than, for each time step, looping over all grid
6. Meteorological input data for each grid cell (for the entire simulation period) are read
from a file specific to that grid cell.
7. Time series of output variables for each grid cell (for the entire simulation period) are
stored in files specific to that grid cell.
8. Routing of stream flow is performed separately from the land surface simulation, using a
separate model (typically the routing model of Lohmann et al., 1996 and 1998).


4.6.1 Meteorological Forcing File Preparation

This includes meteorological data (i,e rainfall, snow, maximum temperature, minimum
temperature, and wind speed) collection, gridding, and converting grid data into VIC model
format. Different steps related to these are described below;
Metrological Data Collection:
Steps followed for data downloading from a free source are as follows:
1) Download Global Summary of the Day (GSOD) of National Climatic Data center
(NCDC) from by yearly basis.(see table 4.1)
Table 4.1 shows some of the sample data used as the primary data.
2) Each file contains station wise data.
3) An example of a station data is shown below;

95 0 0.02 85.2 92.6 77.8
96 8.59 85.6 92.7 78.6
102 1.63 97.8
103 0 0 90.4 99.9 80.8
102 88.7 98.2 79.3
102 98.1
98 95.5
96 0 83.8 90.9 76.7
88 0 79.1 85.2 73
90 85.3

Table 4.1. sample data for Kaveri basin

4) Stations inside the study basin area are sorted out from “ish-history.txt” by using GIS.
5) From the yearly data files, only required stations are sorted out to make a time series file
or each station.
6) There are so many parameters in NCDC-GSOD database for a station. For VIC, only
Rainfall (RAINF), Maximum Temperature (TMAX), Minimum Temperature (TMIN) and
Wind Speed (WDSP) are needed.
7) Missing precipitation data are filled by observed gridded APHRODITE's data and
satellite estimated precipitation data of TRMM .
8) Missing data of Maximum Temperature, Minimum Temperature and Wind Speed are
filled from available nearby stations.
10) Snow data are collected from European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
(ECMWF), ERA-Interim (Daily, 1.5 Deg resolutions, 12 step, sum of 0:00 and 12:00
forecast, These data are collected through
the Ohio State University. Then these data are resample to the resolution 0.25 Deg. The data
type is ASCII.

4.6.2 Gridding of Meteorological Data

For gridding of meteorological files, add daily rainfall, snow, temperature and wind speed
data at the attribute table of station point shape file. Shapfiles for rainfall, snow, temperature

and wind must be separate. Convert the station time series data into daily raster by ArcGIS
batch interpolation (Inverse Distance Weighted, IDW) tool in spatial analyst of arc-toolbox.
After Interpolation the raster files are converted into ASCII by ArcGIS raster to ASCII
conversion tool. Precipitation, maximum temperature, minimum temperature and wind
speed data should be stored in different folder and name of each daily ASCII file must be in
yyyymmdd format.

4.5.3 Vegetation Parameter File Preparation

Vegetation data in VIC is divided into two files. One of them is vegetation library file and
other is vegetation parameter file. Vegetation parameter file contains the grid cell ID
number, number of types of crops at each grid cell, vegetation class ID (Defined in
vegetation library), fraction of each vegetation class in a grid cell, root depth at different
layer, fraction of root at different root depth layer, LAI at different months. This data has
been resampled for the project area and after resample there is only one crop for each grid
cell. Monthly TERRA-MODIS LAI data have been downloaded from LAI data for each grid cell is extracted by ArcGIS
extraction tool of spatial analysis. Three different root layer depth and fraction of root in
different layer has been assumed.

4.7 Flow Direction File Preparation

Flow direction is important for generating runoff. The steps that are applied to generate
stream network using SRTM DEM is shown below;

1) Flow direction is derived from SRTM data by using hydrology tool of ArcGIS through
generating the Fill and Flow Accumulation grid. A snap of the flow direction grid is shown
in figure below;

Fig 4.5. Flow direction map of Kaveri basin

This map (fig 4.5) is helpful to calculate the direction in which water will flow using slope
from neighboring cells. This flow direction map is used as primary input file fed to the
routing model.

2) There may have some anomaly in flow direction file. It is very common that some cells
have direction to outside or has not directed to the right course of stream.

4.7.1 Grid Cell Size

Grid cell size affects the run-off generation during simulation of VIC, and Route model.
Initially during kaveri basin model development, it is considered 0.125 degree grid cell size.
After simulation it is found that VIC model underestimates stream flow in kaveri basin. So it
needs to be re-gridded cell size to 0.25 degree for this basin. Then the stream flow is
increased. Eventually, the model performance is found better that the previous one.
Therefore, re-gridding of cell size in higher scale might be an option for increasing stream
flow during simulation.


The VIC model and the routing model have been developed for use on LINUX and UNIX
platforms. To use VIC and/or the routing model on a Windows platform, it is recommended
downloading a free UNIX emulator such as Cygwin and compiling/running these models
within this emulator.


4.9.1 Downloading of VIC 4.0.6 Source Code

The VIC model is written in C and typically compiled with the GNU gcc compiler. Step by
step procedures for installation of VIC 4.0.6 are as follows;

1) Download Source Code for VIC 4.0.6 from the following link:
2) Keep the source code file on this location (C:\cygwin\home\user:\), and extract by: tar
xvzf filename,
where filename = name of the file you downloaded, e.g. VIC_code_4.1.1.tar.gz.
3) A folder name “VIC 4.0.6” will be created.

4.9.2 Compilation of VIC Source Code

For the compilation of VIC source code change directory, cd, to the source code directory.
And then At the command prompt type: Make . If this completes without errors, an
executable file called vicNl will be created in this directory.

4.9.3 Storing of VIC Model Input, and Output Data

For storing VIC model input and output data forcing where meteorological forcing data will
be kept. In our case, the folder named “Forcing” where the forcing files are kept. Soil where
soil data will be kept. In our case, the folder named “Soil” where soil parameter file is kept.
Vegetation where vegetation library file, and vegetation data will be kept. In this case, the
folder named “Vegetation” where these two files are kept. Result where result of the VIC
Basin model will be stored.


4.10.1 Downloading of Route 1.0 Source Code

The routing model is written in Fortran 77 and typically compiled with the GNU g77
compiler .Keep the source code file on this location (C:\cygwin\home\user:\), and extract by
tar -xvzf filename where filename = name of the file that downloaded, e.g.
route_code_1.1.tar.gz. A folder “route 1.0” will be created.

4.10.2 Compilation of Routing Model

For the compilation of routing model Change directory, cd, to the source code directory.
And the make two subdirectories: "samp_inputs" and "src"; cd to "src" After that rout.f is to
be edited and make sure that the parameters NROW, NCOL, NYR, and PMAX are all large
enough to contain the dimensions of the basin and the length of the simulation. At the
command prompt, type: Make . If this completes without errors, an executable file called
rout will be created in this directory.

4.10.3 Storing of Routing Model Input, and Output

For storing input and output create a folder “Result” under the “src” folder, where output
data to be stored and the keep the preparation of flow direction file. In this the flow direction
is “KAV.flowd”. Prepare station location file where we want to get the output stream flow.
This is a text file.

4.11 VIC model run and routing the surface flow

VIC source code was executed in the LINUX environment to generate the flux files for each
basin grid. These flux files contain fluxes of surface runoff, evapotranspiration, baseflow,
soil moisture etc. produced at that location. In order to simulate stream flow at an outlet,
routing of runoff component was done using a routing model developed by Lohmann et. al
(1998a, b).
Primary input files fed to the routing model were:
• Flow direction file (compulsory)

• Station location file (compulsory)
• Unit hydrograph file (compulsory)
• Fraction file


Figure 4.5 shows the fraction file of kaveri basin. The fraction file is gridded information
about the fraction of each grid cell that flows into the basin being routed. This allows the
user to more accurately define the basin area , since each cell can contribute more or less
than 100% of their runoff and baseflow components to the basin. This fraction map act as
the primary input file fed to the routing model.

Fig 4.5. Fraction map

Map used

Fig 4.6. Fishnet map

Figure 4.6 shows the fishnet map of kaveri basin. This act as a basic file for developing
fraction files which act as primary data fed to routing modeAbove stated input files were
prepared using SRTM 90 m DEM as the primary input. A control file defining user
preferences and location of input files was used to call the routing code in LINUX
environment. Routing was done for 5 stations namely ADUTHURAI , CHIDAMBARAM,
streamflows in mm and cfs (cubic feet per second) for each outlet location were obtained as
the output.

Chapter 5

Daily precipitation data of the last 4 years collected from IMD has been converted into GIS
format. Monthly and Annual precipitation in the basin has been analyzed. From this data, it
is found that precipitation varies temporally and spatially across the basin. More than 85 %
of the precipitation takes place during July to September months. Precipitation varies
considerably across the basin. While the western side of the catchment mainly experiences
the south-west monsson from June to September. Maximum rainfall happens in the month of
August and even this month shows considerable variation across the basin with the western

Minimum temperature over Kaveri basin varies from 70˚F to 80˚F. Whereas maximum
temperature varies from 90˚ F to 100˚F. Average temperature over Kaveri basin varies from
75˚F to 85˚F.The graphs below shows the variation of temperature over Kaveri basin. A
temperature is a numerical measure of hot and cold. Its measurement is by detection of heat
radiation, particle velocity; kinetic energy, or most commonly, by the bulk behavior of a
thermometric material.

min temp




min temp





Jan Feb March April May June July August SeptOctober Nov Dec

Fig 5.1 Month-wise minimum Temp.of the Kaveri basin

Figure 5.1 shows the minimum temperature variation over kaveri basin for the year 1992.
From the figure it could be concluded that for the year 1992 the minimum temperature was
there in the month of September. Tmin is the basic time series input for the model.


100 97.8 99.9 98.2 98.1 95.5 96.5 98.4

92.6 92.7 90.9
85.2 85.3




Jan Feb March April May June July August SeptOctoberNov Dec
Fig 5.2 Month-wise Maximum Temp.of the Kaveri basin

Figure 5.2 shows the maximum monthly temperature variation over kaveri basin for the year
1992. It is seen that for the year 1992 monthly temperature is maximum for the month April.
For the basic input tmax is also provided as the basic input. The reason of providing tmin, tmax ,
and tavg as the basin input that the global warming can reduce the vegetation land cover by
slowing plant growth , which will aggravate the water and soil loss. Temperature changes
would have an effect on mineralization and nitrification by changing soil temperature. The
warming is projected to cause an increase of sediment and nutrient and eutrophication in the
coastal areas.


The model efficiency was computed using the default simulation result and the measured
flow data. This resulted in a better representation of the hydrological processes and

produced streamflow yield which had a better model efficiency in comparison to the
measured streamflow. There are many factors that affect runoff such as climatic and
watershed or physiographic factors.

Fig 5.3. Graph between month and runoff for the year 1992-1993in MCM

Figure 5.3 shows the graph is of monthly runoff over the Kaveri basin for the year 1992.
This graph shows the observed value of runoff and simulated value of runoff versus the
month. Month is on the –axis and the runoff is plotted on y-axis. It is observed that runoff is
maximum is in the month of July to August. In the starting of the year both the runoff is
observed to be very less which gradually increases in the month of July. In the month of
August it is clear from the graph that the observed runoff as well as simulated runoff has
reached its maximum height. And then again it keeps on decreasing. The model was
generated runoff series for the study area in millimeter. Then the same is converted into
monthly volume in the unit million cubic meters (MCM). In this both observed as well as
simulated runoff follows same pattern. From the graph it is seen that the maximum monthly
volume is same for both the runoff.

Fig 5.4 Graph between months and runoff for the year 1993-1994

Figure 5.4 shows the graph between runoff and month for the year 1993-1994. The graph is
for the observed runoff and the simulated runoff for the year 1993-1994. It is observed that
maximum runoff takes place in the month of June till the month of August. This may be due
the reason that the maximum precipitation takes place in the same month. For this graph, it
can be concluded that it does not show regular increase or decrease in runoff. From the
starting of the year the runoff be it observed or simulated, both are negligible and runoff
starts increasing from the month of June and starts decreasing from the month of August and
it increased again in the month of September. Runoff reached its maximum height in the
month of July. From the graph it is seen that observed runoff and simulated runoff does not
shows a regular pattern, as it is seen that in the case of observed runoff there is gentle slope.
But in case of simulated runoff both the rise and fall of the graph is steep. Thus it can be
concluded observed runoff may have been affected by external conditions.

Fig 5.5 The graph between month and runoff for the year 1994-1995

Figure 5.5 shows the monthly observed and simulated runoff for the year 1994-1995. It
shows that the runoff is maximum for the month of July and August. In this graph also it is
following the same trend as the above cases. In this graph the maximum runoff takes place in
the month of September. As seen in above cases for this year also the graph is gradually
increasing and then drops from the month of September. But for this graph the value of
observed monthly runoff is much more than the value of simulated runoff.

Fig 5.6 Graph between runoff and month

Figure shows the graph of monthly observed runoff and simulated runoff for the year 1995
1996. For this year the pattern for the observed and simulated runoff is a bit different from
last observed years. For this year the graph is having two peak point which is a bit different
from all the observed year graphs. Its is seen that from the month of June runoff has
increased and reached to a height and the dropped. And then again in the month of August it
has incraesed and reached its maximum height and the graudally decreased.

Now we have the graphs between observed runoff versus simulated runoff the consecutive
years.the graphs below are the graphs between observed runoff and simulated runoff.

Fig 5.7 Graph between observed runoff and simulated runoff for the year 1992-1993

Figure 5.7 shows the graph between observed runoff and simulated runoff for the year 1992-
1993. Simulated runoff is being plotted on y-axis and observed runoff is plotted on x-axis.
Leaving some of discrete point of simulated runoff and considering the points in a line, the
graph is made. This graph shows the goodness of fit for simulated and observed runoff. For
this the value of coefficient of determination (R2) is 0.829 which is greater than 0.5 which is
correct. Thus working of the model is significant to extent.

Fig 5.8 Graph between observed and simulated runoff for the year 1993-1994

Figure 5.8 shows the graph between simulated and observed runoff for the year 993-1994.
For this case also for a fitting graph of simulated runoff and observed runoff some of the
discrete point are removed. For this the value of coefficient of determination is 0.687 which
is significant showing that the model is significant. This is significant as the value of
coefficient of determination is greater than 0.5.

Fig. 5.9 Graph between simulated runoff and observed runoff for the year 1994-1995

Figure 5.9 shows the graph between simulated runoff and observed runoff for the year 1994-
1995. For this graph the value of coefficient of determination is 0.923 which is significant.

Fig 5.10 Graph between observed value and simulated runoff for the year 1995-1996

Figure 5.10 shows the graph between observed runoff and simulated runoff for the year
1995-1996 for which the value coefficient of determination is significant. Observed runoff is

plotted on x-axis and simulated runoff on y-axis. For this year also some of the discrete
points are removed and making a good fit graph between simulated runoff and observed
runoff. And coefficient of determination for this year is 0.691 which can be considered as

Table 6.1: Coefficient of determination during all the respective years

Sr. No Year Coefficients of

1 1992-1993 0.82
2 1993-1994 0.68
3 1994-1995 0.93
4 1995-1996 0.69

Table 6.1 shows the coefficient of determination for the years taken into consideration over
Kaveri basin. It can be seen that best result is obtained for the year 1994-1995. Thus we can
conclude that our model has validated to a significant level.

The error in the simulated value due to errors in input data such as precipitation and
temperature and or other sources of uncertainties such as upstream dam for irrigation, water
supply and other unknown activities in the sub basins. However, the uncertainties may not
only depend on precipitation and temperature. Another issue is the soil erosion that affects
the structure, infiltration capacity and other properties of the soil. Since the model does not
consider the effect of soil erosion on runoff, the predictions can be uncertain.


It can be concluded that our Vic model is successfully validated over Kaveri basin. It is
applied to the basin for the modeling of the hydrological water balance and surface runoff.
The model has the capability to generate the climatic data through weather generator by
defining the various monthly parameters. In the present study, the hydrological modeling is
performed using Vic model for the Kaveri basin . The model uses arc GIS environment and
calculates the surface runoff at various monitoring points in a catchment. For topographic
analysis, the SRTM DEM at 90m grid size has been used. ARC GIS has been used to
delineate the watershed. Various other data files, such as basin characteristics and water use
details in the study basin were specified. The model runs were taken with the specified data
at daily time step and the output results have been analyzed at monthly time step. The
simulated flows at the basin outlet have been compared with the observed flows for four
years of record (1992-93 to 1995-96) and the results are encouraging. The coefficient of
determination for the monthly runoff was obtained as 0.82, 0.68, 0.92, 0.69 can be
considered as a satisfactory value.


Following conclusions can be drawn out from above studies:

1. For kaveri basin runoff is maximum for the month June and extends till August.
2. Error in simulated runoff in comparison with observed runoff may be due to the
reason like soil erosion, water supply or may be other activities in sub- basin.
3. From seeing the above results we can say that our model is validated giving good

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