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Ilydrological Aspects of Alpine and High Mountain Areas (Proceedings of the Exeter Symposium, July 1982). IAHS Publ. no. 138.

Recession characterization of small mountain basins, derivation of master recession curves and optimization of recession parameters

 LUIS S, PEREIRA High Institute of Agronomy, Technical University of Lisbon, Tapada da Ajuda, 1399 Lisboa Codex, Portugal HANS M, KELLER .. Eidg. Anstalt fur das forstliche Versuchswesen, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland

ABSTRACT This paper deals with methods of obtaining master recession curves (MRC) of small mountain basins

and of estimating the parameters of compound recession laws. MRC correspond to average recession conditions. They are derived by: (a) analysing all observed depletion

curves;

(b) adjusting their segments with a simple

recession law; (c) grouping these segments

according to

their parameters; (d) characterizing these groups with the mean values of the recession parameters, and (e) representing the MRC by the sequence of these calculated recession segments. Utilizing a weighted least-squares method for solving nonlinear equations, the optimization of recession parameters includes: (a) computerized estimation of the initial set of parameters; (b) a

procedure to check the parameter

values, (c) use of

particular techniques to improve calculation. A brief

analysis

of results shows

that in 95% of the cases the

variance of residuals was < 1.0 Is

-

.

INTRODUCTION

Recession flow is best described by an exponential

 Q t = Q Q exp (-at) (1) or by a hyperbolic function Q t = Q 0 /(l + at) 2 (2)

where Q Q is the initial and Q t is the discharge

discharge, a is the recession coefficient

at time t.

Equation (1) corresponds to deep

aquifer depletion while equation (2) describes the recession

phenomena for shallow aquifers.

The recession flow from a basin corresponds to the release of water from different reservoirs, each with specific storage and

discharge characteristics.

It cannot be described entirely by these

 equations. In general it is necessary to use a complex equation, like

243

244

L.S.Pereira

S

H.M.Keller

2

t

=

2o

1

exp(-a

t)

^

+

Q 0

exp(-a„t)

3

+

Q Q

exp(-a

t)

(3)

where each term represents a different flow component.

THE MASTER RECESSION CURVE

A recession

curve represents the response of a given basin

integrating the existing conditions of recharge, storage and discharge. For small basins and shallow aquifers the variation of recession conditions is important and is mainly related to the antecedent recharge conditions, while in large basins and deep aquifers this variation is smaller and essentially related to long- term fluctuations of rainfall.

The characteristic response of a basin is represented by the

master recession

curve

(MRC) that corresponds to the average

recession conditions during a given period. In a small mountain basin, the recession conditions are mainly

influenced by the antecedent recharge conditions. It is therefore necessary to consider an MRC for each season, where rainfall and évapotranspiration regimes are followed by specific recession conditions. The MRC represents the most frequent depletion

situation. This is why this curve is utilized to formulate

models

of streamflow, for forecasting, for estimating groundwater or to study the influence of man or vegetation on water regime and water balance.

The

derivation

of

the

master

recession

curve

A large number of methods for obtaining these MRC have been developed: the correlation method, the tabulating method, the strip method (Toebes & Ouryvaev, 1970), the method of plotting with

arbitrary origin (Trainer & Watkins, 1974) , the

method of

simultaneous adjustments (Snyder, 1962) , the method of ordination of discharges (Fédérer, 1973) or the simple calculation of the mean recession coefficients (Farvolden, 1971). In general, these methods are slow and it is difficult to estimate their accuracy. Also they are not well adapted to computer use. A new method has therefore been developed for characterizing the recession of several small mountain basins in the Swiss Pre-Alps (Pereira, 1977) listed in another symposium paper (Pereira & Keller, 1982) which overcomes these difficulties.

 The recession segments method for derivation of the master recession curve Basic assumptions :
• (a) An MRC must describe average conditions of a complete

flow

recession unaffected by precipitation.

• (b) The method concerns the decreasing flow rates at fixed time

intervals At.

In general it is applied to daily

streamflow.

• (c) The MRC must include all the main flow components - direct

flow, subsurface flow and baseflow.

• (d) The MRC is the integral result of various different

reservoirs

 Recession characterization 245 releasin g water a t successively lower rates. Therefore i t can be represented by a se t of recession segments, each followed by another with lower recession coefficient. Description of the method (a) According to the conditions of recharge (precipitation), of storage (shallow and deep layers and aquifers) and of discharge (flow and évapotranspiration regimes), the seasons have to be chosen on the basis of simila r recession behaviour. In Pre-Alp areas, we distinguis h the spring-summer period and the autumn season and during the winte r the snow accumulation and the snowmelt seasons. (b) Using a semi-log plo t of all dail y flow hydrographs (Pereira , 1975a) of a given time period , we can choose all the depletion curves to be used in the MRC. These plots (Fig.l) have to be observed togethe r with the meteorological data in orde r to exclude all intervals affected by precipitation . (c) The same hydrographs (Fig.l) are then utilize d to select, for each chosen depletion curve, the time intervals tha t can be described by a simple recession curve. Q (l/s/km') 1000 * © Mean daily discharge Recession segments 266 Number of day in the year ? Indicates days with precipitation 100 10 FIG.l Example using hydrographs of mean daily flow for the choice of recessions and of the recession segments,

246 L.S.Pereira

&

H.M.Keller

(d)

Each

of

these

time

intervals

corresponds

to

a

recession

segment

tha t

must

be

characterized

by

it s

initia l

flow

Q

and

it s

recession coefficien t

a

as well

as

by

some parameters

of

the

statistica l

significanc e

of

it s

variatio n

(Pereira ,

1975b),

such

as

the coefficien t of variatio n C v .

(e)

Plotting ,

for

each

season,

a

against

Q Q

on

semi-log

paper

(Fig.2) ,

an

analysis

of

the

relationshi p

between

a

and

Q

is

and

abnormal

data

are

excluded.

Q 0

(l/s/km 2 )

1000-

^

|

|

1

1

500-

|

I

|

|

400-

'

,

I

1

89 x

'

300-

I

88 x

1

200-

1

9!

x149

1

I

### l

®

X

14 1

x7b

136 .

* 1 4 6

'33 >

100-

l

I

!

f 7

mx

'

^

1b0x |

80-

I

|

I

60-

I

I

157X

65x

137 J

1

90 K

®

X ,52

1

X135

.

1

40-

3 0 -

|

151

|y 4

X66

|

13

I

»

158

,

®,ff]

I

1

q 7x 106 1

A

«

20-

I

27x ®

r

-j

29

Segment used for the caiculation of a t

and

Q 0 j

981

93

°" 3 8 rJ

l

A

Segment used for the calculation of a, only

10-

24 x

139*

1

i

®

Coordinates

of

a\

and

Q 0 i

9 6 ® 155* x

1

1

The groupes of recession segments

3

-, /

0

I

i

i

1

1

1

I

I

I

!

1

1

1 "•

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1.0

1.1

1.2

1.3

a

FIG.2

Example

of

the

relation

between

the

parameters

a

and

Q

of

the

regression

segments.

f) Observing this plot (Fig.2) we select a set of classes of a

*o grouping of the points (a, Q Q ) and to the position of the

and Q„ values

This can be done according to the manner of

corresponding recession segments in the daily flow hydrographs

(Fig.l).

As an alternative, we can calculate

Aa = (a

### .

mxn

m

)/ I

, k=0 L ^

(k = 0,1,2,

...

,m)

(4)

where a

the number

and a ,

are the observed extreme values of a and m is

of classes (5 to

i

7), and we can then estimate

the limits

of the class intervals a, by the relation

k

a, k = (2k + l)Aa

in which k increases with a.

(5)

• (g) Each class interval i, with size n;, is characterized by the

Recession

characterization

247

mean ^

values

n i

n.

• ### S. = 1 '

i

(i =

1,2,

m)

(6)

l

j=l

(j = 1,2,

n ± )

• n,- l

5 0 i

= I

Q 0

/n ±

(7 )

j=l

i,3

The weights are WH

J = Cv.;

., functions of

the coefficients of

variation of each individual recession segment, as stated under (d),

and of the size Nj_ j of these segments.

(h) Each class interval corresponds to a calculated recession

segment;

thus, if i increases when Q 0

and a decrease, these

Q t = Q 0 . exp(-cLt)

(8)

 with Q > Q t °i Therefore, the equation (8). Q t = Q 0 .exp with t. S> t >

> Q

i+1

 MRC is constitute d by m segments, The MRC can hence be expressed as {-5 ± (t - t ± _ 1 ) }

each

following

the

(9)

t.

_-, , after calculating the time limits of the class

intervals from tj_ = t• _-, + At. , with

At ± = (In Q 0 , - In Qo i+1 >/âi

(10)

Equation (9) gives

all the values of

the MRC, expressed as daily

discharges, from Q 0 - , the mean value of the first class, to Q m -; n ,

the mean value of the minimum discharge of any segment included in

the m classes.

(i) In order to ensure that the recession segments corresponding

to each class interval are statistically different, the calculations

to characterize these classes, mentioned under (g), can be completed

with the estimation of the variance and, thus, with t-tests of

differences between the calculated mean values. Therefore, if

necessary, the limits of each class can be modified to improve the

accuracy of the method.

Brief

analysis

of

the

application

applied to obtain the MRC of eleven

of

the

method

This method was

Pre-Alp basins (Pereira, 1977,

1978a). The recession segments have been calculated through the

exponential (equation 1) and the hyperbolic (equation 2) models,

that we compared. For each basin three

seasons were considered:

the spring-summer season (after snowmelt until August), the autumn

season (from August to the beginning of snow accumulation) and the

growing season, which contains the whole period without the

influence of snow. The method was also applied to a high-mountain

basin, Varunash, in the southern Swiss Alps near Bernina, where only

the growing season was considered.

 248 L.S.Pereira S H.M.Keller An example of result s (parameters Q 0 J and cL of equatio n (9) concernin g th e autumn MRC of some basin s of Alpta l (Schwyz) i s give n i n Tabl e 1. TABLE 1 Parameters of MRC (equation 9) and their confidence intervals for some Flysch basins in Alptal (Schwyz) Basins Spring-Summer Autumn 163.70±34.56 0.8379+0.0561 183.35+53.07 1.0237+0.1612 59.15+ 5.85 0.5133+0.0477 66.46+17.27 0.5132±0.0403 31.96+ 5.66 0.2856+0.0114 35.52+ 3.69 0.2990+0.0161 20.78+ 4.56 0.2022+0.0153 29.48+ 2.47 0.1960+0.0055 15.11+. 5.70 O.0987+0.0223 16.48+ 3.43 0.1311+0.0102 9.14+ 1.19 0.0522+0.0070 9.44+ 0.89 0.0634+0.0053 7.49+ 0.91 0.0387+0.0050 116 .29 + 23.60 0.4997+0.0334 144.86+39.43 0.7863+0.0562 58.29+12.16 0.3594+0.0164 38.88+ 7.74 0.3323+0.0264 29.55+ 4.33 0.1320+0.0248 19.54+ 2.87 0.1011+0.0116 18.16+ 2.59 0.0751+0.0103 11.75+ 3.07 0.0316+0.0043 92.76+18.06 0.4820+0.0418 83.97+15.94 0.5809+0.0789 39.13+ 6.04 0.2121+0.0087 46.63+ 8.92 0.2515+0.0309 29.47+ 8.26 0.1452+0.0145 29.16+ 7.56 0.1670+0.0147 10.62+ 4.50 0.0897+0.0205 20.74+ 3.01 0.0986+0.0068 13.23+ 1.39 0.0513+0.0053 From th e result s o f applyin g th e method t o fi t th e MRC a s state d above i t i s concluded : (a) Statistica l test s have shown tha t th e hypothesis of norma l distributio n insid e eac h class interva l had t o be accepted . (b) The t-tes t fo r difference s between mean value s of subsequen t classe s have shown tha t th e averag e value s o f a were significantl y differen t (Tabl e 2) . (c) The same test s when applie d t o th e mean value s of Q 0 presente d differen t result s (Tabl e 2) . The variabilit y of recharg e condition s influence s th e variabilit y of th e Q 0 values. (d) The assumptio n of difference s between th e segments tha t describ e th e MRC (equatio n 9) was accepte d becaus e of th e main influenc e of a on th e shap e of th e curves.

OPTIMIZATION OF THE RECESSION PARAMETERS USING THE WEIGHTED LEAST- SQUARES METHOD

An MRC being a complete recession curve, is described by a complex exponential or hyperbolic function, with two or three terms. The

 TABLE 2 t-test subsequent class class) Parameter and a(autumn) a(summer) a(growing season) Q Q (autumn) Q (summer) Q 0 (growing season)
 Recession character!zation for differences between means of a and 0 o of intervals (per cent of values in each Classes of probability P P40.1 0.KP41 .0 1.0

.1

.O

.5

249

probability

.0<P

exponentia l model (3) can be expresse d

N

Qt

=

I

k=l

Q n

exp(-a k t)

(11)

Each pair of Q 0

and a k characterizes a flow component. Therefore,

the calculation of these parameters is connected with the hydrograph

separation techniques. Many methods have been developed (Dickinson

et al., 1967) that give solutions to both questions. We can

mention the classical methods of Barnes (1939) and of Langbein (1940),

utilized and modified by many authors. In general these methods

are of little value to separate more than two components, even if

numerical techniques are used (Singh

& Stall, 1971).

Graphical

solutions (Kovacs, 1975) are the most common for problems with three

flow components.

To overcome the most common difficulties, and to permit the use

of computer facilities, Pereira (1977) developed a new least-squares

approach in order to obtain the recession parameters that

characterize recession in small mountain basins.

 The least-squares method of solving complex exponential recession equations

We can give to equation (11) the general form

Qi

f

(t ± ;

Q Q 1 ,

wi t h

i

=

1 ,

2,

Q, ON '

<<1

I

e. i

(12)

This

i s

a

system

of

n

equation s

and 2N

unknown parameters, where discharge Q^ is a function of time tj_, e^

being the residuals. The system can be solved by the least-squares

method if some conditions are accepted.

 250 L.S.Pereira S H.M.Keller The use of weights The first condition is tha t the residuals must be normally distributed . The shape of the recession curve, with the discharges decreasing exponentially suggested the use of weights. The choice of weights w. . was experimental. They are : w - 1 . 0 1 , 1 w. . = W i~l , i - 1 + 0 . 2 ( i = 2 , 3, . , 5) 1 , 1 w. . = W i-1 , i - 1 + 2 . 0 ( i = 6 , 7 , . , 30) 1 , 1 w. . = w. i - 1 + 1 . 0 ( i = 3 1 , 32 , . ,50 ) 1 , 1 1-1 , w. . = w. + 0 . 5 ( i = 5 1 , 52 , . . ) 1 , 1 1-1 , i - 1 The values of w- , can be differen t for othe r dat a in order to obtain the most adequate residuals distribution . The linearization technique The second condition for using the least-square s methods is the linearit y of the equations (12). Given y, = f (x. l f . , x. , , fi , . , 9 ) + e. (13) J i 1, 1 i, h 1 m i y. = f (X. , 0) + e. (14) J i l l we can linearize after developing the function f in a Taylor's series m 9f(X if 0) f (X i , 0) = f (X ± , 0 Q ) + I j=l -1 j ti=e (15) J o when 0 is the vector for an initial estimate of the unknown coefficients 6-s. With brief notations, the equation (15) can be written m f, = f. + y z. . B. (i6) i o i -ti ° 1,:i ° D and, therefore, system (14) takes the linear form m y. = f. + y . 3. + e. (17) 1 O l . ^ O 1 , 1 O 1 1

j=l

The unknown quantities are now Bj constituting the vector

B Q

An iterative process gives new estimations of the 0 vector

through the successive values of the B vector,

The

iterative

solutions

The vector 0 is constituted by the

parameters of equation (12), after some transformations in order to

limit the variation of the parameters during the iterative process.

 Recession characterization 251 Then, becaus e Q must always be positive , settin g Q Q = to , we can calculat e OJ = +ZQ O . The recessio n coefficien t i s transforme d t o K = exp(-a) , which i s submitte d t o th e conditio n 0 < K < 1; and settin g K = 1/(1 + Ç 2 ), we therefor e calculat e Ç = +/( 1 - K)/K. To obtai n 9 we se t 6^ = C M , 9„ = to , . , 9 m _^ = E,^ and 0 m = to, . Then equatio n (12) i s replace d by Q, = f (t . ; 6 n , .. . , 0 ) + E. (18) 1 i 1 m i which is identical to equation (13) . Its solution is given by equation (17), which is, utilizing weighted least squares, (z' w z )~ J Z ' W (Y - " F „ (19) o o o o where Z Q i s th e nx m matri x of th e partia l derivatives , W i s th e n x m matri x of weights and (Y - F ) i s a column matrix , wit h dimension n , constitute d by th e difference s (residuals) between th e dependen t variable s y. and it s estimation s f .. The elements b . o f B„ o ar e th e i estimation s of th e 8. 1 , elements o i of B^. ° o i o The firs t estimat e of th e parameters QA i s replace d by a new one : 0-, = 0 + B . Successiv e iteration s improve thes e estimates. Thus, f o r th e iteratio n 1( 1 = 1,2 , I max ) we have ê i = ê i-i + (z I-i w Vi rl V i W{Y - F i-i' (20 )

The calculation finishes when results converge. As criteria for

convergence we can use the comparison between variances of the

residuals for successive iterations

 1 < (ol 1-1 ,/a*) I < 1 + y (21) where n 2 f 1 (X. , Y. - 1 0 I ) /(n-m) (22) i=l and Y being a chosen quantity, in this case Y = 0.05. The first estimate of the recession parameters The first important question to be solved was the estimate of the initial set of values 0 9-;, i.e. of parameters Q 0 , and a^. To do this the normal graphical method has been transformed into a numerical calculation (Fig.3): (a) estimation of the time interval T, , beginning at t = 0, and ending when discharge Q- is considered to be baseflow; (b) adjustment of the exponential equation to discharges Q, , with t > T b , and calculation of Q Q and a^; (c) calculation of Q* = Q t - Q Q exp(-0U t) ; (d) estimation of the time interval T^, beginning at t = 0 and ending when Q is considered to be subsurface flow; (e) adjustment of the set of values Q. , for T, -^ t < T, and Q ^ Qmin' with chosen Q m j_n' and calculation of Q 0 2 and 012 ; (f) calculation of Q" = Q, - Q 0 „ exp(-a2 t) ,-
 252 L.S.Pereira S H.M.Keller Weight Discharge (]/s/km 2 l (units) QS. =96.45 ; •>--» _ ! ! ! ! ! r _ — j ! { i j n 10 11 12 13 14 Time (days) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 H - T h FIG.3 Example of a first estimate of the parameters Q Q and a of the compound recession curve, exponential equation. (ga ) adjustmen J t of th e se t of values *T Q , fo r t < T, h and t Q >, x mm Q . ' , and calculatio n of Q Q -, and 03 ; (h) transformation of Q 0 , and (X- int o (1)^ and Çj_, respectively , and determination of th e vector 0 Q a s indicate d above. The results of this estimation procedure can lead t o relativel y high variance s of residuals. In this case a particula r iterativ e process of correction of Q_ and Q i s enough t o reduce this variance and improve th e vector ^ (Pereira , 1978b). Particular calculation techniques to improve convergence (a) To selec t a new scale , th e matrix A = z'w Z ha s been transformed int o a scaled matrix A* and th e vector B of th e solution has been transformed int o a scaled vector B*, a s proposed by Marquardt (1963). (b) In orde r t o improve calculation s with th e matrix Z, because of th e difference s between absolute values of it s columns, th e elements of each column have been modified: z*. . = z. */Z-\ • Tn e values of Ç. were chosen i n such a way tha t a becte r equilxbrium between columns was obtained. (c) I n a model with si x unknown parameters th e convergence was bette r when initiall y two parameters were fixed. Only afte r this step were al l parameters submitted t o th e convergence process. Together with this process, a control of th e value s of th e determinant was imposed i n order t o prevent overflow (Pereira , 1978b)
 Recession characterization 253 (d) Because the gradien t method can be subjec t to divergence during the calculation , the halving method (Draper & Smith,1966) was adopted to modify the^vector By. The procedure consists of searching for the vector B y = ±B- [ /2 u , with u = 1,2, , U max , tha t gives, in a particula r iterativ e calculation , the minimum value to the variance of the residuals; thus, this vector B u replace s Bj and the normal iterativ e