TOPKAPI (TOPographic Kinematic APproximation and Integration) model is a fully-distributed physically-based hydrological model that can provide high resolution information on the hydrological state of a catchment.


The model can be used both as a stand-alone program and inside real-time operational flood forecasting systems.



Fields of application include:


  • Catchment hydrology
  • Flood forecasting
  • Water resources management
  • Artificial reservoirs management
  • Land use and climate change
  • Irrigation and drought
  • Landslides













TOPKAPI reproduces the behaviour of the main components of the hydrologic cycle:

  • subsurface flow
  • overland flow
  • channel flow (kinematic and parabolic)
  • infiltration
  • percolation
  • evapo-transpiration
  • snowmelt


A lake/reservoir component and a parabolic routing component based on Muskingum-Cunge method are also available.


Each computational component can be activated separately.





Using TOPKAPI model you can:

  • Have reduced execution times suitable for distributed model calibrations and real-time operational applications.
  • Easily calibrate you model due to physically meaningful parameters whose values can be retrieved from Digital elevation maps, soil maps, land use and vegetation maps.
  • Track the spatial variability of runoff conditions in the catchment getting flow predictions at any point of the channel network.
  • Fully exploit spatial variability in precipitation estimates from RADAR networks.
  • Resolve basin hydrologic response at very fine temporal (few minutes) and spatial (100-1000 m) scales in both small and large catchments.
  • Run the model at different time scales, up to daily simulations.
  • Run event based and continuous simulations (climatological studies).





Model results include:


  1. Water balance at catchment and sub-catchment scale for main hydrologic quantities
  2. Time series (1D) of hydrologic quantities at catchment and sub-catchment scale, such as precipitation, air temperature, evapo-transpiration, snow accumulation and snowmelt, percolation, surface flow, channel flow, ect. Time series are available for every cell of the model, i.e. on the entire catchment.
  3. State maps (2D) of the catchment referring to the main hydrologic quantities, such as soil moisture, evapo-transpiration, river flow, ect. State maps provided by TOPKAPI model can be used to monitor the behavior of the catchment during severe hydro-meteorological events and can be used for landslide monitoring, fire prevention and water resources applications.



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