Modelling surface run-off and trends analysis over India

S. Chauhan, P.K. Gupta (Corresponding Author), M.P. Oza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The present study is mainly concerned with detecting the trend of run-off over the mainland of India,
during a time period of 35 years, from 1971–2005 (May–October). Rainfall, soil texture, land cover types,
slope, etc., were processed and run-off modelling was done using the Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS) model with modifications and cell size of 5×5 km. The slope and antecedent moisture
corrections were incorporated in the existing model. Trend analysis of estimated run-off was done by
taking into account different analysis windows such as cell, medium and major river basins, meteorological
sub-divisions and elevation zones across India. It was estimated that out of the average 1012.5 mm of
rainfall over India (considering the study period of 35 years), 33.8% got converted to surface run-off. An
exponential model was developed between the rainfall and the run-off that predicted the run-off with
an R2 of 0.97 and RMSE of 8.31 mm. The run-off trend analysed using the Mann–Kendall test revealed
that a significant pattern exists in 22 medium, two major river basins and three meteorological subdivisions,
while there was no evidence of a statistically significant trend in the elevation zones. Among
the medium river basins, the highest positive rate of change in the run-off was observed in the Kameng
basin (13.6 mm/yr), while the highest negative trend was observed in the Tista upstream basin (−21.4
mm/yr). Changes in run-off provide valuable information for understanding the region’s sensitivity to
climatic variability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1102
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of earth system science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Run-off; curve number; Mann–Kendall test; medium river basin


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