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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ASSESSING CLIMATE, SOIL AND LANDSCAPE PROCESSES AFFECTING AGRICULTURAL ECOSYSTEMS Title: Comparison of SWAT Model Water Balance Calibration Using NEXRAD and Surface Rain Gauge Data

Authors
item Sexton, Aisha - UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
item Sadeghi, Ali
item McCarty, Gregory
item Hively, Wells
item Lang, Megan
item Shirmohammadi, Adel - UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2009
Publication Date: April 15, 2009
Citation: Sexton, A.M., Sadeghi, A.M., McCarty, G.W., Hively, W.D., Lang, M.W., Shirmohammadi, A. 2009. Comparison of SWAT Model water balance calibration using NEXRAD and surface rain gauge data [abstract]. Abs. 31, BARC Poster Day.

Technical Abstract: The value of watershed-scale, water quality models to ecosystem management is increasingly evident as more programs adopt these tools to help assess the effectiveness of different management scenarios on the environment. The USDA-Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) is one such program which was established to quantify the environmental benefits from conservation practices implemented under USDA conservation programs. The Choptank River watershed, located in Maryland on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, is a special emphasis watershed under the CEAP program. Several of its tributaries have been identified as “impaired waters” under Section 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act due to high levels of nutrients and sediments. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was utilized to build a model for the German Branch (GB) watershed (~50 km2), a non-tidal tributary basin of the Choptank River. The overall goal of the project is to determine the effectiveness of cover crop programs to reduce nutrient loadings to the Choptank River; however, the initial steps to build the GB model are discussed here. Climate is the driving force of any water quality model; therefore effort was put into assessing the effects of alternative sources of climate data. Both surface rain gauge measurements and Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) precipitation data were used to determine any significant differences in model performance. Sensitivity, calibration, and validation analyses were conducted on the hydrology component of the GB model. The optimal water balance obtained in this study is an essential precursor to acquiring realistic sediment and nutrient results in forthcoming GB modeling efforts.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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