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Synthetic Unit Hydrograph
Synder's Method for computation

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observations of rainfall and runoff. However, for some drainage basins

rain gages and/ or streams flow gages are not, therefore, rainfall

runoff data are not available. For those basins, some kind of

techniques to generate UH (without using rainfall runoff records) is

needed. The UH so derived is called synthetic UH.

(1) those relate hydrograph characteristics (peak discharge, time base,

time-to-peak, etc.) to basin characteristics;

(2) those based on dimensionless UH; and those based on models of

watershed storage.

UH

Snyders Method - 1

km2)

Properties characterizes the response of watershed under various

rainfall inputs:

(a) Duration of rainfall excess;

(b) Lag time;

(c) Time base of UH;

(d) Time to peak;

(e) Peak discharge of UH;

(f) Shape of UH.

UH

Snyders Method - 2

Snyders method allows the computations of

(a) lag time (tL);

(b) UH duration (tr);

(c) UH peak discharge (qp);

(d) Hydrograph time width at 50% and 75% (W 50, W75) of peak flow

UH

Snyders Method - 3

1. Lag time (tL): time from the center of rainfall excess to the UH peak

tL = C1Ct (LLc)0.3

where tL = Time [hrs]; C1 = 0.75 for SI unit; 1.0 for English unit; Ct =

Coefficient which is a function of watershed slope and shape, 1.8~2.2

(for steeper slope, Ct is smaller); L = length of the main channel [mi,

km]; Lc = length along the main channel to the point nearest to the

watershed centroid

UH

Snyders Method - 4

2. UH Duration (tr):

tr = tL / 5.5

where tr and tL are in [hrs]. If the duration of UH is other than t r, then the lag

time needs to be adjusted as

tpL = tL + 0.25 (tR - tr)

where tLR = adjusted lag time; tR = desired UH duration.

3. UH Peak Discharge (qp):

C C

C C

2 p

2 p

q

q

p

p

t

t

p

pR

where C2 = 2.75 for SI unit; 640 for English unit; C p = coefficient accounting

for flood wave and storage condition, 0.4 ~ 0.8;

qp = specific discharge,

[m3/s/km2] or [ft3/s/mi2]

To compute actual discharge, Qp = Aqp

or

UH

Snyders Method - 5

4. Time Base (tb):

Assuming triangular UH,

tb = C3 / qp

where tb [hrs]; C3 = 5.56 for SI unit, 1290 for English unit.

C

C

w,75

w,50

W

5. UH Widths:

or

75

50

1.08

q1.08

q

p

p

where

CW, 75 = 1.22 for SI unit; 440 for English unit;

CW, 50 = 2.14 for SI unit; 770 for English unit;.

W50, W75 are in hours; Usually, 1/3 of the width is distributed before UH

peak and 2/3 after the peak

Remember to check that the volume of UH is close to 1 cm or 1 inch

UH

Snyders

Method Example

UH

SCS

Dimensionless

UH

UH

SCS Dimensionless UH

UH

applied

resulting UH is called the IUH.

IUH of a drainage basin results from 1 unit (1 cm or 1 ) of effective rainfall

to the watershed in zero time.

2. Suppose we have a 1-hr S-curve, the dt-hr UH can be obtained by

S(t) S(t dt)

dt

By letting dt 0, the resulting UH is called IUH. In other words, IUH can be

obtained from find the slope of 1-hr S-curve, i.e.,

IUH(t) = dS(t) / dt

where S(t) = 1-hr S-curve

UH

Dimensionless discharge: Q = Q(Lag+tr/2)/V

Dimensionless time: t= 100 t / (Lag+tr/2)

where V = surface runoff from 1 of rainfall excess (in ft 3);

Lag = basin lag time (min)

= time between the centroids of rainfall excess

and runoff hydrograph

=1.47 A0.54 with A = basin area (acres);

tr = 15min

15 min

1

Lag

UH

Q ' exp[4.409 00758 t ' 0.0001078 t '2 ,

1.3093 0.03608 t ' ,

for

44.6 t ' 64

2.6385 0.02 t ' ,

437648.32

ln(t ' )

441337.84

, for 64 t ' 81.7

ln(t ' )

t'

4809.207

8.651 exp[41 t ' ], for 100 t ' 513.3

t '2

Dimensionless Discharge

(Q')

HK Dimensionless 15-min UH

1.1

1.0

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0

0

50

100

150

200 250

300 350

UH

400 450

500

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