This study tests the applicability of the curve number (CN) method within the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to estimate surface runoff at the watershed scale in tropical regions. To do this, surface runoff simulated using the CN method was compared with observed runoff in numerous rainfall-runoff events in three small tropical watersheds located in the Upper Blue Nile basin, Ethiopia. The CN method generally performed well in simulating surface runoff in the studied watersheds (Nash-Sutcliff efficiency [NSE] > 0.7; percent bias [PBIAS] < 32%). Moreover, there was no difference in the performance of the CN method in simulating surface runoff under low and high antecedent rainfall (PBIAS for both antecedent conditions: ~30%; modified NSE: ~0.4). It was also found that the method accurately estimated surface runoff at high rainfall intensity (e.g., PBIAS < 15%); however, at low rainfall intensity, the CN method repeatedly underestimated surface runoff (e.g., PBIAS > 60%). This was possibly due to low infiltrability and valley bottom saturated areas typical of many tropical soils, indicating that there is scope for further improvements in the parameterization/representation of tropical soils in the CN method for runoff estimation, to capture low rainfall-intensity events. In this study the retention parameter was linked to the soil moisture content, which seems to be an appropriate approach to account for antecedent wetness conditions in the tropics.
Research news | 2018-07-10
The World in 2050 initiative launches new report outlining synergies and benefits that render the goals achievable
Educational news | 2018-07-02
LEAP our leadership programme designed for changemakers that want to lead social-ecological transformations to sustainability. Application deadline is 5 August 2018.
Research news | 2018-06-27
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Research news | 2018-06-26
Profit-maximizing approaches are most likely to produce outcomes that harm people or the environment. But it depends on the circumstances whether a sustainable or a safe approach is most suitable, new study argues
General news | 2018-06-20
Will lead a redesign of the organisational structure at the centre
Research news | 2018-06-20
New book chapter looks into the economic, cultural and ecological reasons why some people leave the fisheries and aquaculture sector, and what could be done to reverse the trend