Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-291
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-291

  21 Nov 2020

21 Nov 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

A national topographic dataset for hydrological modeling over contiguous United States

Jun Zhang1, Laura E. Condon1, Hoang Tran2, and Reed M. Maxwell2 Jun Zhang et al.
  • 1Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
  • 2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Abstract. Topography is a fundamental input to hydrologic models critical for generating realistic streamflow networks as well as infiltration and groundwater flow. Although there exist several national topographic datasets for the United States, they may not be compatible with gridded models that require hydrologically consistent Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). Here, we present a national topographic dataset developed support physically based hydrologic simulations at 1 km and 250 m spatial resolution over contiguous United States. The workflow is described step-by-step in two parts (a) DEM processing using a Priority Flood algorithm to ensure hydrologically consistent drainage networks and (b) slope calculation and smoothing to improve drainage performance. The accuracy of derived stream network is evaluated by comparing the derived drainage area to drainage areas reported by the national stream gage network. The slope smoothing steps are evaluated using the runoff simulations with an integrated hydrologic model. The processed DEM is designed to capture the topographic features and improve the runoff simulations for the models solving partial differential equations. The workflow uses an open-source R package and all output datasets and processing scripts are available and fully documented here. All of the output datasets and scripts for processing are published through Cyverse at 250 m and 1 km resolution. The DOI link for the dataset is https://doi.org/10.25739/e1ps-qy48 (Zhang and Condon, 2020).

Jun Zhang et al.

 
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Jun Zhang et al.

Data sets

JZhang_LCondon_CONUS_Topography_Sep2020 Jun Zhang https://doi.org/10.25739/e1ps-qy48

Jun Zhang et al.

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Short summary
The existing national topographic datasets for US may not be compatible with gridded hydrologic models. This study provides a national topographic dataset developed to support physically based hydrologic models at 1 km and 250 m over contiguous US. We used a priority flood algorithm to ensure hydrologically drainage networks and evaluated the performance with an integrated hydrologic model. Datasets and scripts are available for either direct data usage or modification of processing as desired.