On hydrologic similarity: 2. A scaled model of storm runoff production

M. Sivapalan, Keith Beven, Eric F. Wood

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331 Scopus citations


The paper describes a simple physically based conceptual model of runoff production based on catchment topography and the spatial variablity of rainfall and soil properties. Both infiltration excess (Horton type) and saturation excess (Dunne type) runoff production mechanisms are considered. The effect of topography is modeled using the In (α/tan β)‐topographic index method of Beven and Kirkby (1979). The effects of the spatial variability of soil properties and rainfall on areal average infiltration rates are handled using a quasi‐analytical approach. The interaction between the two mechanisms of runoff production and the effect of a finite water table on the infiltration excess mechanism are explicitly considered. The model equations are cast in a dimensionless form to clarify the interrelationships involved in hydrological responses and to identify measures of similarity between different heterogeneous catchments. The dimensionless formulation has led to the identification of five similarity parameters and three dimensionless variables representing initial conditions and storm characteristics. Finally, a number of experiments were performed to study the sensitivity of the runoff production response to some of these similarity parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2266-2278
Number of pages13
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


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