The GEOtop model makes it possible to analyze the short- and long-term effects of geomorphic variation on the partitioning of the lateral surface and subsurface water and surface energy fluxes. The topography of the Little Washita basin (Oklahoma) and of the Serraia basin (Trentino, Italy) have been used as base topographies from which virtual topographies with altered slopes and elevations have been created with corresponding modifications of the soil thickness and the extension of the channel network, according to applicable geomorphological theories, in order to quantify the contribution of these topographic features to the spatial and temporal variability of energy and water fluxes. Simulation results show that both a more extended channel network and more accentuated slopes cause an increase in the discharge balanced by a diminution of the evapotranspiration. The diminution of the latent heat flux is balanced by the increase in the sensible heat flux. Net radiation shows a minor sensitivity to topography. Evaporative fraction, on the contrary, is shown to be strongly dependent on geomorphic characteristics. The results confirm the importance of including an adequate treatment of topography in large-scale land surface models.
Journal of Hydrometeorology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Mar 2, 2005
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