Accuracy-Based Dynamic Time Step Estimate for the One Dimensional Overland Flow Kinematic Wave Solution Conference Paper uri icon


  • The kinematic wave theory is widely used in modeling a variety of hydrologic processes. Preliminary results of the kinematic wave overland flow solution using different time steps showed that the conventionally used stability criteria known as the Courant condition fails to give a time step estimate that ensures stable and accurate numerical solutions. Accordingly, a new accuracy-based dynamic time step estimate for overland flow kinematic wave solution is developed. The newly developed dynamic time step estimates are functions of the mesh size, watershed slope, roughness, storm and time to equilibrium. The new criteria were developed by comparing the Galerkin-Crank Nicholson numerical solution of the kinematic wave equation to the characteristic method-based analytical solution, using different time steps and meshes. For each simulation, characterized by of a problem boundary, initial conditions and mesh size, an optimal time step that integrates the problem within 5% error was determined. The series of mesh sizes and corresponding optimal time steps were used to develop the dynamic time step. The time step criteria were tested on a variety of problems and proved to be adequate for accurate and stable results within an efficient computational time. The criteria can be easily integrated in flow routing models to choose the optimal time step with minimum user input.

published proceedings

  • 2000 ASAE Annual Intenational Meeting, Technical Papers: Engineering Solutions for a New Century

author list (cited authors)

  • Jaber, F., & Mohtar, R. H.

complete list of authors

  • Jaber, F||Mohtar, RH

publication date

  • December 2000