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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-109
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-109
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: model description paper 26 Apr 2019

Submitted as: model description paper | 26 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

The Canadian Hydrological Model (CHM): A multi-scale, multi-extent, variable-complexity hydrological model – Design and overview

Christopher B. Marsh1,2, John W. Pomeroy1,2, and Howard S. Wheater2,1 Christopher B. Marsh et al.
  • 1Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
  • 2Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Abstract. Despite debate in the rainfall-runoff hydrology literature about the merits of physics-based and spatially distributed models, substantial work in cold regions hydrology has shown improved predictive capacity by including physics-based process representations, relatively high-resolution semi- and fully-distributed discretizations, and use of physically identifiable parameters with limited calibration. While there is increasing motivation for modelling at hyper-resolution (< 1 km) and snow-drift resolving scales (~ 1 m to 100 m), the capabilities of existing cold-region hydrological models are computationally limited at these scales.

Here, a new distributed model, the Canadian Hydrological Model (CHM), is presented. Although designed to be applied generally, it has a focus for application where cold-region processes play a role in hydrology. Key features include the ability to capture spatial heterogeneity in the surface discretization in an efficient manner; to include multiple process representations; to be able to change, remove, and decouple hydrological process algorithms; to work both at a point and spatially distributed; the ability to scale to multiple spatial extents and scale; and to utilize a variety of forcing fields (boundary and initial conditions). This manuscript focuses on the overall model philosophy and design, and provides a number of cold-region-specific features and examples.

Christopher B. Marsh et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Christopher B. Marsh et al.
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Short summary
The Canadian Hydrological Model (CHM) is a next-generation distributed model. Although designed to be applied generally, it has a focus for application where cold-region processes, such as snowpacks, play a role in hydrology. A key feature is that it uses a multi-scale surface representation, increasing efficiency. As well, it enables algorithm comparisons in a flexible structure. Model philosophy, design, and several cold-region-specific examples are described.
The Canadian Hydrological Model (CHM) is a next-generation distributed model. Although designed...
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