Application of the MacCormack scheme to overland flow routing for high-spatial resolution distributed hydrological model
Although process-based distributed hydrological models (PDHMs) are evolving rapidly over the last few decades, their extensive applications are still challenged by the computational expenses. This study attempted, for the first time, to apply the numerically efficient MacCormack algorithm to overland flow routing in a representative high-spatial resolution PDHM, i.e., the distributed hydrology-soil-vegetation model (DHSVM), in order to improve its computational efficiency. The analytical verification indicates that both the semi and full versions of the MacCormack schemes exhibit robust numerical stability and are more computationally efficient than the conventional explicit linear scheme. The full-version outperforms the semi-version in terms of simulation accuracy when a same time step is adopted. The semi-MacCormack scheme was implemented into DHSVM (version 3.1.2) to solve the kinematic wave equations for overland flow routing. The performance and practicality of the enhanced DHSVM-MacCormack model was assessed by performing two groups of modeling experiments in the Mercer Creek watershed, a small urban catchment near Bellevue, Washington. The experiments show that DHSVM-MacCormack can considerably improve the computational efficiency without compromising the simulation accuracy of the original DHSVM model. More specifically, with the same computational environment and model settings, the computational time required by DHSVM-MacCormack can be reduced to several dozen minutes for a simulation period of three months (in contrast with one day and a half by the original DHSVM model) without noticeable sacrifice of the accuracy. The MacCormack scheme proves to be applicable to overland flow routing in DHSVM, which implies that it can be coupled into other PHDMs for watershed routing to either significantly improve their computational efficiency or to make the kinematic wave routing for high resolution modeling computational feasible.