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Using NHDPlus as the Land Base for the Noah-distributed Model

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The National Elevation, Hydrography and Land Cover datasets of the United States have been synthesized into a geospatial dataset called NHDPlus which is referenced to a spheroidal Earth, provides geospatial data layers for topography on 30 m rasters, and has vector coverages for catchments and river reaches. In this article, we examine the integration of NHDPlus with the Noah-distributed model. In order to retain compatibility with atmospheric models, Noah-distributed utilizes surface domain fields referenced to a spherical rather than spheroidal Earth in its computation of vertical land surface/atmosphere water and energy budgets (at coarse resolution) as well as horizontal cell-to-cell water routing across the land surface and through the shallow subsurface (at fine resolution). Two data-centric issues affecting the linkage between Noah-distributed and NHDPlus are examined: (1) the shape of the Earth; and (2) the linking of gridded landscape with a vector representation of the stream and river network. At mid-latitudes the errors due to projections between spherical and spheroidal representations of the Earth are significant. A catchment-based “pour point” technique is developed to link the raster and vector data to provide lateral inflow from the landscape to a one-dimensional river model. We conclude that, when Noah-distributed is run uncoupled to an atmospheric model, it is advantageous to implement Noah-distributed at the native spatial scale of the digital elevation data and the spheroidal Earth of the NHDPlus dataset rather than transforming the NHDPlus dataset to fit the coarser resolution and spherical Earth shape of the Noah-distributed model.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Applications LaboratoryNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado 2: Center for Research in Water ResourcesUniversity of Texas at Austin 3: Research Applications LaboratoryNational Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulder, Colorado 4: Department of Geological SciencesJohn A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin

Publication date: 01 August 2009

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