Instantaneous response functions of overland flow and subsurface stormflow for catchment models

Justin S. Robinson, Murugesu Sivapalan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The storm response of a catchment can be considered to consist of two components; the hillslope response and the stream network response. The first of these is examined here. Simple analytical models of overland flow and subsurface stormflow are presented which are applicable for use in catchment-scale models of the rainfall-runoff response. The hillslope models are meant to describe the collective responses of the hillslopes in a catchment in a simple way that is also physically meaningful. The overland flow model is based on a generalization of classic work by Horton and of more recent work by Rose et al. known as Rose's approximation. The subsurface flow model consists of two components. The piston displacement model is used to describe flow in the unsaturated zone between the soil surface and the perched water-table. The kinematic assumption combined with Rose's approximation is used to describe flow in the saturated zone. These hillslope models are then used to derive instantaneous response functions for both overland flow and subsurface stormflow, under different rainfall intensities and antecedent flow conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-862
Number of pages18
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Hillslope response
  • Instantaneous response function
  • Non-linearity
  • Overland flow
  • Subsurface stormflow
  • Unit hydrograph

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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