Date of Award

Spring 2001

Project Type


Program or Major

Earth Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Charles Vorosmarty


The present dissertation attempts to improve our current understanding of some of the key elements of the surface runoff and its horizontal transfers in rivers. The dissertation presents an intensive analysis of the uncertainties in water balance calculations and the impact of uncertainties in the input data and the formulation of the water balance calculations on the runoff estimate. A simple technique is presented to combine observed river discharge and simulated runoff to derive accurate estimates of the spatially distributed runoff. Such composite runoff estimates are valuable for numerous earth science and water resource studies.

The dissertation also discusses the representation of river networks for flow simulations. The performance of simulated river networks is analyzed with respect to resolution which provides guidance for the design of simulated river networks. New relationships are developed between river discharge and the riverbed geometry. These relationships provide the basis for the design of flow routing schemes incorporating the complete hydraulic dynamics of the riverine flow in the flow simulations.

The dissertation demonstrates the use the composite runoff in a simulated river network context and the application of the relationships relating river discharge to flow properties to estimate the volume and surface of waters stored in rivers. The estimates agree well with previous estimates published in the scientific literature, but provide more insight into the spatial distribution of river water storage.