Analysis of baseflow index based hydrological model in Upper Wei River basin on the Loess Plateau in China
- 1State Key Laboratory Base of Eco-hydraulic Engineering in Arid Areas, School of Water Resources and Hydropower, Xi'an University of Technology, Xi'an, 710048, China
- 2State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering, Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, China
- 3School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, 430074, China
Keywords: Baseflow, hydrological model, Wei River basin, Loess Plateau
Abstract. The baseflow is the drainage from the groundwater and soil water to the streamflow. As one important source of the streamflow, the baseflow could be the main source of the streamflow in the dry season. The Wei River, located in the semi-arid region of the Loess Plateau which is overlain by deep and loose soil, is the largest tributary of the Yellow River. According to former research, most of the streamflow in the dry season in the headwater of the Yellow River is baseflow. For the whole Yellow River basin, the baseflow is an important component of the streamflow, and accounts for about 44% of the annual runoff. Physically-based distributed hydrological models can simulate the runoff components separately, and are important tools to analyse the runoff components. Given the importance of the baseflow in the dry season for drought relief to support the ecological water requirement and irrigation, especially in the Wei River, the baseflow is analysed in this study. To investigate the baseflow in the Upper Wei River basin, a semi-distributed hydrological model based on a Representative Elementary Watershed approach (THREW) is employed to investigate the runoff generation process. To compare the results, an automatic baseflow separation method proposed by Arnold is used to separate the baseflow from the daily streamflow at Beidao hydrological station in Upper Wei River basin from 2001 to 2004. Based on the hydrological modelling and the Arnold separation method, the average annual baseflow index, i.e. the ratio of baseflow to the total runoff, is estimated as in the range of 0.30–0.36. The average intra-annual monthly baseflow index represents the seasonality of the baseflow due to the seasonality of the precipitation and evapotranspiration, and is also analysed.