Modeling Concepts

Montage of lumped, semi-distributed and distributed basins.

Various models from simple to complex have been developed for analyzing and predicting factors involved in runoff. The choice of a specific model depends on the type of information required and how the results are to be applied.

The number and types of assumptions within a model, the kinds of data needed, and the level of complexity are important factors when deciding which model to use.

In this section you will:

  • Understand the basic concepts in runoff modeling
  • Recognize why complex versus simple models are used
  • Describe how a lumped model works
  • Describe how a semi-distributed model works
  • Describe how a distributed model works and the potential advantages as well as limitations
  • Discover some popular examples of each type of model