1. General Model Information

Name: CATFLOW a new physically based, distributed model for the dynamics of

Acronym: CATFLOW

Main medium: terrestrial
Main subject: biogechemical, hydrology
Organization level: Landscape
Type of model: 3D
Main application:
Keywords: catchment,drainage flow, runoff,erosion


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. E.h. E.J. Plate
Institute for Hydrology and Water Resources Planning (IHW)
University of Karlsruhe
Kaiserstrasse 12
76128 Karlsruhe
Phone: +49 (0) 721 608 3814
Fax : +49 (0) 721 66 13 29



CATFLOW, a Physically Based Distributed Catchment Model

by Thomas Maurer

A new physically based, distributed model (named CATFLOW) for the dynamics of water in a small rural catchment on the event and season time scale is presented. Results are shown for the 3.5 sqkm research catchment Weiherbach in SW-Germany.

The model is based on the idea of subdividing the 3D-landscape in patches of 2D-hillslopes of variable width (assuming water flowing normal to the topographical contours) connected to a detailed (partly ephemeral) drainage network. Though there have been developments based on this or similar ideas in the past a new effort has been undertaken to improve concept and structure of this type of model.

With increasing size of a catchment the shape of a hydrograph is more and more influenced by the properties of the drainage network rather then by overland flow; the latter then mainly has to provide realistic estimates of event based runoff coefficients. Increasing size is a relative measure. If we trace down the drainage network into every single swale of the landscape these considerations are valid for even very small catchments.

Thus we get a partial decoupling of runoff production (at the hillslope) and runoff propagation (in the detailed drainage network), achieving a reduction of the dimension of the problem.

Runoff coefficients are determined by proper evaluation of infiltration and evapotranspiration, both at times controlled by either soil or atmospheric conditions. CATFLOW spends considerable efforts in a more precise description of these processes.

For infiltration these are:

For evapotranspiration these are:

Furthermore, special emphasis has been put on the following features:

Source of the abstract:

II. Technical Information

II.1 Executables:

Operating System(s):

II.2 Source-code:

Programming Language(s):

II.3 Manuals:

II.4 Data:

III. Mathematical Information

III.1 Mathematics

III.2 Quantities

III.2.1 Input

III.2.2 Output

IV. References

V. Further information in the World-Wide-Web

VI. Additional remarks

Last review of this document by: T. Gabele: Oct 7 1998
Status of the document: -
last modified by Tobias Gabele Wed Aug 21 21:44:40 CEST 2002

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