Modelling Software

Many of the results of CH's research are made available for use in addressing 'real-world' hydrological problems in the form of models. By encapsulating algorithms and methodologies within software toolsets, they may be put to work in a consistent and productive manner. The challenge in doing so is that there can be no 'one size fits all' solution: in the absence of a grand unifying theory, different approaches must be applied in different contexts of landscape, climate, and scale.

To make progress towards a more comprehensive modelling framework, scientists working at and with CH have developed a framework-based approach based on two principal platforms. Both provide the means to compare different techniques for representing and predicting a range of aspects of the physical processes which govern hydrological response, and together span the range from an individual point location to large regions (of the order of average provincial scale).

The Cold Regions Hydrological Model (CRHM), focuses on fine-detail interactions at scales which may be adequately represented by grids at resolutions of up to approximately 10km. It supports the incorporation, testing and comparison of a wide range of modules, each corresponding to a component of the complex assemblage of iteracting processes which function on, and immediately above and below, the land surface. More information is available here.

MEC-Surface and Hydrology (MESH), has been developed by Environment Canada to provide a regional-scale Hydrology-Land-Surface-Scheme system which integrates several land-surface schemes with a comprehensive hydrological model, and also provides the option to form a fully-coupled system through linking with an atmospheric model. More information is available here.

Both systems have been developed and tested extensively as part of the IP3 and DRI networks and other major projects, and will continue to evolve in the light of ongoing research.

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Centre for Hydrology
University of Saskatchewan
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