The characteristic time scale for basin hydrological response using radar data

Efrat Morin*, Yehouda Enzel, Uri Shamir, Rami Garti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The transformation of rainfall into runoff at a basin outlet is the combined effect of many hydrological processes, which occur at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. However, determining the scale of the combined hydrological response of the basin is still problematic and concepts for its definition are yet to be identified. In this paper high-resolution meteorological radar data are used for the determination of a characteristic temporal scale for the hydrological response of the basin - the 'response time scale' (Ts*). Ts* is defined as the time scale at which the pattern of the time-averaged radar rainfall hietograph is most similar to the pattern of the measured outlet runoff hydrograph. The existence of such similarity at a relatively stable time scale for a specific basin indicates that it is an intrinsic property of the basin and is related to its hydrological response. The identification of the response time scale is carried out by analysis of observations only, without assuming a specific rainfall-runoff model. Ts* is examined in four small basins (10-100 km2) in Israel. The spatial scale is assumed as the entire basin. For all analyzed basins a stable response time scale is identified. Relatively short time scales are found for the urban and arid basins (15-30 min), while for the rural basins longer time scale are identified (90-180 min). The issues of relationship between the response time scale and basin properties and modeling at the response time scale have yet to be determined.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)85-99
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 31 Oct 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Radar data were provided by E.M.S (Mekorot) and part of the runoff data were provided by the Hydrological Service of Israel. Rain gauge data were provided by the Israel Meteorological Service. Prof. D. Rosenfeld advised on radar data analysis. G.I.S analysis was carried out using the G.I.S Laboratory of the Hebrew University. Discussions with Dr K. Georgakakos were very helpful. This project was funded by grants from the United States — Israel Binational Science Foundation (Grant 97-00026) and the Jewish National Fund.


  • Hydrological response
  • Radar hydrology
  • Rainfall-runoff relationships
  • Semiarid areas
  • Small basins
  • Time-scale


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