Development of a distributed nonlinear Muskingum model by considering snowmelt effects for flood routing in the Red River

Sci Rep. 2023 Dec 4;13(1):21356. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-48895-8.


This research paper presents the development of a nonlinear Muskingum model which achieves precise flood routing through river reaches while considering lateral inflow conditions. Fourteen pairs of flood hydrograph found at two specific United States Geological Survey (USGS) stations located along the Red River of the North, namely Grand Forks and Drayton, are used for the calibrations and validations of the Muskingum model. To enhance the accuracy of the procedure, a reach is divided into multiple sub-reaches, and the Muskingum model calculations are performed individually for each interval using the distributed Muskingum method. Notably, the model development process incorporates the use of the Salp Swarm algorithm. The obtained results demonstrate the effectiveness of the developed nonlinear Muskingum model in accurately routing floods through the very gentle river with a bed slope of (0.0002-0.0003). The events were categorized into three groups based on their dominant drivers: Group A (Snowmelt-driven floods), Group B (Rain-on-snow-induced floods), and Group C (Mixed floods influenced by both snowmelt and rainfall). For the sub-reaches in Group A, single sub-reach (NR = 1), the Performance Evaluation Criteria (PEC) yielded the highest value for SSE, amounting to 404.9 × 106. In Group B, when NR = 2, PEC results the highest value were SSE = 730.2 × 106. The number of sub-reaches in a model has a significant influence on parameter estimates and model performance, as demonstrated by the analysis of hydrologic parameters and performance evaluation criteria. Optimal performance varied across case studies, emphasizing the importance of selecting the appropriate number of sub-reaches for peak discharge predictions.