Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Human activity is an important agent defining the contemporary hydrologic cycle. We have documented the potential impacts of impoundment, land use change and climate change on the Zambezi River system in southern Africa and found that they can be substantial. A full analysis requires construction and parameterization of a simulation for the entire catchment. This paper develops a strategy for implementing catchment-scale models of the major hydrologic processes operating within the basin. A coherent data set for calibrating the models has also been assembled. The algorithms consist of a Water Balance (WBM) and a Water Transport (WTM) operating at 1/2o spatial scale and at monthly timesteps. These models transform complex patterns of regional climatology into estimates of soil water, evapotranspiration, runoff, and discharge through rivers of various size. The models are dependent on the characteristics of the terrestrial surface, principally soil texture and land cover. A simulated river network is also required. Additional tabular data sets are essential for model testing and calibration. These include subcatchment areas; observed river discharge at selected points; flooding, storage and loss characteristics of major wetlands; floodwave translation; and, volume, surface area, withdrawal and evaporative losses from impoundments. An important design consideration for the numerous impoundments in the Zambezi requires an understanding of the seasonal variation in discharge, in particular how it might respond to climate and land use change. The research strategy offered here lays a framework for addressing such issues. Although the primary focus of this work is hydrologic, we discuss how the model can be extended to consider constituent transport and biogeochemical cycling issues at the continental scale.
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