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Water 2015, 7(11), 6616-6633; doi:10.3390/w7116616

Validation of a Locally Revised Topographic Index in Central New Jersey, USA

Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ 07102, USA
Academic Editor: Miklas Scholz
Received: 19 August 2015 / Revised: 10 November 2015 / Accepted: 12 November 2015 / Published: 18 November 2015
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Abstract

Saturation excess is a major runoff process in humid regions such as the US Northeast. Topographic index (TI) is used to simulate the pattern of runoff-contributing areas following a saturation excess runoff process. Although TI is useful to delineate saturated areas, i.e., hydrologically sensitive areas, for taking spatially distinctive actions in watersheds for improving water quality, local resource management practitioners often question its applicability to local conditions. This study introduces two methods to validate a locally revised TI in humid central New Jersey, USA. The revised TI uses soil moisture deficit instead of water table depth as the state variable in simulating the saturation excess runoff process. First, the calculated TI values were compared to the soil moisture measurements sampled in two sites in Tewksbury Township in the region to evaluate their correlations. Second, a watershed model Variable Source Load Function (VSLF) that incorporates TI was applied to the Neshanic River Watershed in the region and compared to another watershed model Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to evaluate its capability in predicting the streamflow and its runoff and baseflow components. The positive correlations between soil moisture measurements and TI suggested TI is a good indicator of runoff-generating potential. VSLF achieves a modeling efficiency comparable to SWAT in simulating watershed hydrology. Such validation gives practitioners confidence to incorporate TI pattern into watershed management practices for improving their efficiency. The results are applicable to shallow, interflow-driven watersheds in humid regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: variable source area hydrology; topographic Index; soil moisture; Variable Source Load Function (VLSF) Model; Soil and Water Assessment Tool; Neshanic River watershed variable source area hydrology; topographic Index; soil moisture; Variable Source Load Function (VLSF) Model; Soil and Water Assessment Tool; Neshanic River watershed
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Qiu, Z. Validation of a Locally Revised Topographic Index in Central New Jersey, USA. Water 2015, 7, 6616-6633.

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