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Basic concepts of kinematic-wave models

January 1, 1994

The kinematic-wave model is one of a number of approximations of the dynamic-wave model. The dynamic-wave model describes onedimensional shallow-water waves (unsteady, gradually varied, openchannel flow). This report provides a basic reference on the theory and applications of the kinematic-wave model and describes the limitations of the model in relation to the other approximations of the dynamic-wave model. In the kinematic-wave approximation, a number of the terms in the equation of motion are assumed to be insignificant. The equation of motion is replaced by an equation describing uniform flow. Thus, the kinematic-wave model is described by the continuity equation and a uniform-flow equation such as the wellknown Chezy or Manning formulas. Kinematic-wave models are applicable to overland flow where lateral inflow is continuously added and is a large part of the total flow. For channel-routing applications, the kinematic-wave model always predicts a steeper wave with less dispersion and attenuation than actually occurs. The effect of the accumulation of errors in the kinematic-wave model shows that the approximations made in the development of the kinematic-wave equations are not generally justified for most channel-routing applications. Modified flow-routing models can be used which help to stop the accumulation of errors that occur when the kinematic-wave model is applied.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1984
Title Basic concepts of kinematic-wave models
DOI 10.3133/pp1302
Authors J.E. Miller
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Professional Paper
Series Number 1302
Index ID pp1302
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization North Dakota Water Science Center; Dakota Water Science Center