An efficient domain decomposition framework for accurate representation of geodata in distributed hydrologic models

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Physically-based, fully-distributed hydrologic models simulate hydrologic state variables in space and time while using information regarding heterogeneity in climate, land use, topography and hydrogeology. Since fine spatio-temporal resolution and increased process dimension will have large data requirements, there is a practical need to strike a balance between descriptive detail and computational load for a particular model application. In this paper, we present a flexible domain decomposition strategy for efficient and accurate integration of the physiographic, climatic and hydrographic watershed features. The approach takes advantage of different GIS feature types while generating high-quality unstructured grids with user-specified geometrical and physical constraints. The framework is able to anchor the efficient capture of spatially distributed and temporally varying hydrologic interactions and also ingest the physical prototypes effectively and accurately from a geodatabase. The proposed decomposition framework is a critical step in implementing high quality, multiscale, multiresolution, temporally adaptive and nested grids with least computational burden. We also discuss the algorithms for generating the framework using existing GIS feature objects. The framework is successfully being used in a finite volume based integrated hydrologic model. The framework is generic and can be used in other finite element/volume based hydrologic models.

Keywords: Constrained delaunay triangulation; Domain decomposition; Geodata representation; Hydrologic modeling; Mesh generation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Penn State University, University Park 16802, PA, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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