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The ADHydro Model and its Suitability for High Performance

Water Resource Modeling

EPS 1135483

Wencong Lai, Fred Ogden, Robert Steinke, Hernan Moreno, Nels Frazier, and Leticia Pureza
Department of Civil & Architectural Engineering, University of Wyoming


The CI-WATER project is a cooperative effort to acquire hardware

and develop software cyberinfrastructure to enhance accessibility of
High Performance Computing for data- and computationallyintensive water resources modeling and management. One of its
components is development of a large-scale, high-resolution, multiphysics, distributed water resources model suitable for operation in a
massively parallel computing environment. The implementation of
this model, called ADHydro, uses the Charm++ parallel programing
system, which offers automatic and dynamic partitioning, load
balancing and checkpointing. This model simulates important
hydrologic process including: precipitation, infiltration,
evapotranspiration, soil heat flux, snow melt, overland flow, channel
flow, groundwater flow and water management. The model has a
quasi-3D formulation that couples 2D overland flow and groundwater
flow using a 1D infiltration method, which eliminates difficulties in
solving the nonlinear 3D Richards equation. The open-source model
includes well documented APIs to achieve interoperability and
facilitate additions and modifications. The ADHydro model is coupled
with the WRF meteorological model and the Noah-MP land surface
model. Software tools have been developed for model set up and
visualization of large-scale watersheds. The objective of the model is
to simulate the Upper Colorado River Basin above Lake Powell for
multi-decadal hydrologic studies in the contexts of water use, land
use, and climate changes. An overview of the ADHydro model
architecture is presented.

Motivating Questions
What are the potential impacts of climate change on the long
term water yield from the Upper Colorado River basin?
How will land-use changes due to development and natural
causes such as fire and the mountain pine bark beetle outbreak
affect water supplies?
How to build a suitable large-scale high-resolution multi-physics
distributed water resources model in parallel computing
environment ?

Colorado River Basin

Upper Colorado River Basin
Streams: 467,000 km
Basin Area: 288,000 km2
Area above 2700 m (9,000 ft) 14.5%
Area above 3050 m (10,000 ft) 3.2%
Population: 900,000 (USBR)
Population depending on water > 30 M

3rd CUAHSI Hydroinformatics Conference

July 15-17, 2015, Tuscaloosa AL

ADHydro Multi-Physics Hydrological Model

AHDydro is a high resolution multi-physics model integrating hydrologic process, engineered infrastructure,
water resources polices and water management into spatially distributed simulations. The merits of the model
include an innovative method for modeling vadose zone dynamics, a water management module considering
reservoirs, irrigation and diversions, a coupled strategy to estimate interception evaporation and snow
processes through Noah-MP.

ADHydro model architecture

2D unstructured triangular mesh

Model formulation layers

ADHydro model multi-physics simulation

Physical Process

Mathematical model

Governing Equations

Numerical method


WRF meteorological model[1]

Compressible, nonhydrostatic Euler equations

Point-scale process

ET / Snow

Noah-MP land surface model[2]

Surface energy balance equation

Point-scale process


1D T-O[3] / GARTO model[4]

( )

Overland flow

2D dynamic/diffusive wave

Shallow water equations (Saint-Venant equations)

Explicit finite volume method

River network flow

1D dynamic/diffusive wave

Q Q2/ A
= qs ,
= gA
gAS f

Explicit finite volume method

Groundwater flow

2D Boussinesq flow


Water management

Reservoirs, irrigation, and diversions

k ( )
( )

Finite water-content method

= Kxh
+ Kyh

Explicit finite volume method

Suitability for High Performance Water Resource Modeling

Explicit finite volume method solver
Groundwater and overland water explicitly coupled by vadose zone infiltration
Precipitation, evapotransporation, and infiltration are treated as point processes
Mass conservation numerical methods
Code developed using the CHARM++ parallel programing system
Well documented APIs to achieve interoperability and modular programing
[1] Michalakes, J. et al. (2014). The weather research and forecast model: Software architecture and performance, Proceedings
of the 11th ECMWF workshop on th use of high performance computing in meteorology, Reading U.K. Ed. George Mozdzynski.
[2] Niu, G.-Y., et al. (2011). The community Noah land surface model with multiparameterization options (Noah-MP): 1. Model
description and evaluation with local-scale measurements, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2010JD015139.
[3] Ogden et al. (2015). A new general 1-D vadose zone flow solution method. Water Resour. Res. 51,
[4] Lai et al. (2015). An efficient and guaranteed stable numerical method for continuous modeling of infiltration and
redistribution with a shallow dynamic water table. Water Resour. Res., 51, doi:10.1002/2014WR016487.

T-O finite water-content domain

Infiltration simulation on Youtube:

T-O method

GARTO method

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