A Multialgorithm Approach to Land Surface Modeling of Suspended Sediment in the Colorado Front Range. Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
  • A new paradigm of simulating suspended sediment load (SSL) with a Land Surface Model (LSM) is presented here. Five erosion and SSL algorithms were applied within a common LSM framework to quantify uncertainties and evaluate predictability in two steep, forested catchments (>1,000 km2). The algorithms were chosen from among widely used sediment models, including empirically based: monovariate rating curve (MRC) and the Modified Universal Soil Loss Equation (MUSLE); stochastically based: the Load Estimator (LOADEST); conceptually based: the Hydrologic Simulation Program—Fortran (HSPF); and physically based: the Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model (DHSVM). The algorithms were driven by the hydrologic fluxes and meteorological inputs generated from the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) LSM. A multiobjective calibration was applied to each algorithm and optimized parameter sets were validated over an excluded period, as well as in a transfer experiment to a nearby catchment to explore parameter robustness. Algorithm performance showed consistent decreases when parameter sets were applied to periods with greatly differing SSL variability relative to the calibration period. Of interest was a joint calibration of all sediment algorithm and streamflow parameters simultaneously, from which trade‐offs between streamflow performance and partitioning of runoff and base flow to optimize SSL timing were noted, decreasing the flexibility and robustness of the streamflow to adapt to different time periods. Parameter transferability to another catchment was most successful in more process‐oriented algorithms, the HSPF and the DHSVM. This first‐of‐its‐kind multialgorithm sediment scheme offers a unique capability to portray acute episodic loading while quantifying trade‐offs and uncertainties across a range of algorithm structures.

Date Issued
  • 2017-11-01
Academic Affiliation
Journal Title
Journal Issue/Number
  • 7
Journal Volume
  • 9
File Extent
  • 2526-2544
Last Modified
  • 2020-02-13
  • PubMed ID: 29399268
Resource Type
Rights Statement
  • 1942-2466