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Concept# Hydrological model

Summary

A hydrologic model is a simplification of a real-world system (e.g., surface water, soil water, wetland, groundwater, estuary) that aids in understanding, predicting, and managing water resources. Both the flow and quality of water are commonly studied using hydrologic models.
Prior to the advent of computer models, hydrologic modeling used analog models to simulate flow and transport systems. Unlike mathematical models that use equations to describe, predict, and manage hydrologic systems, analog models use non-mathematical approaches to simulate hydrology.
Two general categories of analog models are common; scale analogs that use miniaturized versions of the physical system and process analogs that use comparable physics (e.g., electricity, heat, diffusion) to mimic the system of interest.
Scale models offer a useful approximation of physical or chemical processes at a size that allows for greater ease of visualization. The model may be created in one (core, column), two (plan, profile), or three dimensions, and can be designed to represent a variety of specific initial and boundary conditions as needed to answer a question.
Scale models commonly use physical properties that are similar to their natural counterparts (e.g., gravity, temperature). Yet, maintaining some properties at their natural values can lead to erroneous predictions. Properties such as viscosity, friction, and surface area must be adjusted to maintain appropriate flow and transport behavior. This usually involves matching dimensionless ratios (e.g., Reynolds number, Froude number).
Groundwater flow can be visualized using a scale model built of acrylic and filled with sand, silt, and clay. Water and tracer dye may be pumped through this system to represent the flow of the simulated groundwater. Some physical aquifer models are between two and three dimensions, with simplified boundary conditions simulated using pumps and barriers.
Process analogs are used in hydrology to represent fluid flow using the similarity between Darcy's Law, Ohms Law, Fourier's Law, and Fick's Law.

Official source

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Related publications (1)

Related units (1)

Anthony Christopher Davison, Valérie Chavez

The need to model rare events of univariate time series has led to many recent advances in theory and methods. In this paper, we review telegraphically the literature on extremes of dependent time series and list some remaining challenges. ...

2012