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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2016, Article ID 8582041, 10 pages
Research Article

Impact of DEM Resolution and Spatial Scale: Analysis of Influence Factors and Parameters on Physically Based Distributed Model

1College of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
2National Cooperative Innovation Center for Water Safety & Hydro-Science, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
3North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, School of Water Conservancy, Zhengzhou 450045, China

Received 10 May 2016; Revised 11 August 2016; Accepted 14 September 2016

Academic Editor: Francesco Viola

Copyright © 2016 Hanchen Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Physically based distributed hydrological models were used to describe small-scale hydrological information in detail. However, the sensitivity of the model to spatially varied parameters and inputs limits the accuracy for application. In this paper, relevant influence factors and sensitive parameters were analyzed to solve this problem. First, a set of digital elevation model (DEM) resolutions and channel thresholds were generated to extract the hydrological influence factors. Second, a numerical relationship between sensitive parameters and influence factors was established to define parameters reasonably. Next, the topographic index (TI) was computed to study the similarity. At last, simulation results were analyzed in two different ways: () to observe the change regularity of influence factors and sensitive parameters through the variation of DEM resolutions and channel thresholds and () to compare the simulation accuracy of the nested catchment, particularly in the subcatchments and interior grids. Increasing the grid size from 250 m to 1000 m, the TI increased from 9.08 to 11.16 and the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) decreased from 0.77 to 0.75. Utilizing the parameters calculated by the established relationship, the simulation results show the same NSE in the outlet and a better NSE in the simple subcatchment than the calculated interior grids.