Assessment of Hydrologic Response to Variable Precipitation Forcing: Russian River Case Study

Friday, 19 December 2014: 10:20 AM
Robert Cifelli, NOAA ESRL, Physical Science Division, Boulder, CO, United States, Chengmin Hsu, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States and Lynn E Johnson, Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Fort Collins, CO, United States
NOAA Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT) activities in California have involved deployment of advanced sensor networks to better track atmospheric river (AR) dynamics and inland penetration of high water vapor air masses. Numerical weather prediction models and decision support tools have been developed to provide forecasters a better basis for forecasting heavy precipitation and consequent flooding. The HMT also involves a joint project with California Department of Water Resources (CA-DWR) and the Scripps Institute for Oceanography (SIO) as part of CA-DWR's Enhanced Flood Response and Emergency Preparedness (EFREP) program. The HMT activities have included development and calibration of a distributed hydrologic model, the NWS Office of Hydrologic Development’s (OHD) Research Distributed Hydrologic Model (RDHM), to prototype the distributed approach for flood and other water resources applications. HMT has applied RDHM to the Russian-Napa watersheds for research assessment of gap-filling weather radars for precipitation and hydrologic forecasting and for establishing a prototype to inform both the NWS Monterey Forecast Office and the California Nevada River Forecast Center (CNRFC) of RDHM capabilities.

In this presentation, a variety of precipitation forcings generated with and without gap filling radar and rain gauge data are used as input to RDHM to assess the hydrologic response for selected case study events. Both the precipitation forcing and hydrologic model are run at different spatial and temporal resolution in order to examine the sensitivity of runoff to the precipitation inputs. Based on the timing of the events and the variations of spatial and temporal resolution, the parameters which dominate the hydrologic response are identified. The assessment is implemented at two USGS stations (Ukiah near Russian River and Austin Creek near Cazadero) that are minimally influenced by managed flows and objective evaluation can thus be derived. The results are assessed using statistical metrics, including daily Nash scores, Pearson Correlation, and sub daily timing errors.