An oscillatory S-curve causes unexpected fluctuations in a unit hydrograph (UH) of desired duration or an instantaneous UH (IUH) that may affect the constraints for hydrologic stability. On the other hand, the Savitzky–Golay smoothing and differentiation filter (SG filter) is a digital filter known to smooth data without distorting the signal tendency. The present study proposes a method based on the SG filter to cope with oscillatory S-curves. Compared to previous conventional methods, the application of the SG filter to an S-curve was shown to drastically reduce the oscillation problems on the UH and IUH. In this method, the SG filter parameters are selected to give the minimum influence on smoothing and differentiation. Based on runoff reproduction results and performance criteria, it appears that the SG filter performed both smoothing and differentiation without the remarkable variation of hydrograph properties such as peak or time-to peak. The IUH, UH, and S-curve were estimated using storm data from two watersheds. The reproduced runoffs showed high levels of model performance criteria. In addition, the analyses of two other watersheds revealed that small watershed areas may experience scale problems. The proposed method is believed to be valuable when error-prone data are involved in analyzing the linear rainfall–runoff relationship.
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