Application of Gibbs' model to urban drainage networks: A case study in southwestern Chicago, USA

Yongwon Seo, Arthur R. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hydrologic analysis of urban drainage networks often encounters a number of issues, including data acquisition and preparation for modelling, which can be costly and time-consuming processes. Moreover, it can get more challenging with missing data and complex loops inside networks. In this article, Gibbs' model is applied to urban drainage networks to investigate the possibility of replacing an actual existing urban drainage network in terms of the shape and peak flow of the hydrographs at the outlet. The characteristic network configuration is given as a value of a parameter β of Gibbs' model. Instead of the actual network, stochastic networks from Monte-Carlo simulation are utilized to obtain a synthetic width function from the generated networks, and runoff hydrographs are estimated based on it. The results show that the synthetic width function and the resulting hydrographs obtained from the networks simulated by Gibbs' model are close to those from the actual network. The result also shows that even the behaviour of a looped network can be approximated by equivalent dendritic networks generated by Gibbs' model. The applicability of a stochastic network model in urban catchment implies a complement to modelling approaches in case of data unavailability. Moreover, the network property (β) is utilized not only to estimate the discharge hydrograph of a catchment but also as a key link to evaluate the effect from rainstorm movement in urban catchments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1148-1158
Number of pages11
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 30 2014


  • Channel network
  • Gibbs' model
  • Runoff hydrograph
  • Urban hydrology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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