From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Developer(s) Engineer Research and Development Center
Stable release
6.0 / January 30, 2013; 4 years ago (2013-01-30)
Written in C++
Operating system Linux, Microsoft Windows
Type Hydrological modelling
License Public domain software

GSSHA (Gridded Surface/Subsurface Hydrologic Analysis)[1] is a two-dimensional, physically based watershed model developed by the Engineer Research and Development Center of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. It simulates surface water and groundwater hydrology, erosion and sediment transport. The GSSHA model is used for hydraulic engineering and research, and is on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) list of hydrologic models accepted for use in the national flood insurance program for flood hydrograph estimation. Input is best prepared by the Watershed Modeling System interface,[2] which effectively links the model with geographic information systems (GIS).

GSSHA uses a square-grid, constant grid-size representation of watershed topography and characteristics, similar to a digital elevation model representation. Relevant model parameters are assigned to the model grids using index maps. Index maps are often derived from soils, landuse/land cover, vegetation, or other physiographic maps.


The GSSHA model[3][4][5] was derived from the CASC2D hydrologic model.[6][7] GSSHA represents a significant improvement on CASC2D in terms of capabilities, options, and numerical procedures. GSSHA includes dynamic time-stepping depending on stability criteria, different time steps for different numerical processes, and the ability to run on multi-processor computers. Processes included in GSSHA include surface and ground water flow, channel hydraulics, evapotranspiration, erosion and sedimentation, storm drainage networks, tile drains, a variety of hydraulic structures, and contaminant/nutrient fate and transport.


GSSHA uses a regular square grid computational discretization of the watershed. Elevation data are taken from a digital elevation model.

GSSHA uses a vector channel representation. This allows feature allows channels to flow in any direction and meander, independent from the grid resolution; this feature accurately preserves channel length and slope.

The GSSHA model was developed from the outset to be capable of 'long term' simulations consisting of multiple events. As such, required inputs include meteorological variables, and surface energy-balance parameters. Seasonality in evapotranspiration parameters is included in the model.

Overland and channel flow hydraulics are based on explicit, finite-volume, diffusive wave schemes. The overland and channel flow routines use dynamic time stepping to improve model stability and decrease simulation times.

Surface and subsurface stores are linked though the vadose zone using a number of different optional numerical methods. A two-dimensional finite-difference groundwater solver is coupled to streams through a stream bed conductance layer.

There are a number of optional methods to calculate erosion and sediment transport. The model can be used to simulate transport of sediments with specific gravity different from sand.

Specific process simulation options[edit]

Current additions to the GSSHA model include source/sink/transport of nutrients and contaminants.

Computational specifics[edit]

GSSHA is programmed in C++, and runs on Windows or Linux computers. The model is command line driven and can be used in a batch mode. Parallel computing is enabled at present using the MPI or the OpenMP approach. Work is underway to port the code to run on massively parallel distributed memory architecture machines.

Applications to date[edit]

  • Flash flood modeling
  • Soil moisture predictions
  • Sediment loading to receiving water bodies
  • Tidal and hurricane storm surge coastal flood forecasting
  • Engineering design
  • Hydrology education
  • Hydrologic research


  1. ^ Downer, C.W., and F.L. Ogden, 2004, GSSHA: A model for simulating diverse streamflow generating processes, J. Hydrol. Engrg., 9(3):161-174.
  2. ^ WMS
  3. ^ Downer, C.W., and F.L. Ogden, 2004, GSSHA: A model for simulating diverse streamflow generating processes, J. Hydrol. Engrg., 9(3):161-174.
  4. ^ Downer, C.W., F.L. Ogden, J. M. Niedzialek, and S. Liu, 2006, Gridded Surface/Subsurface Hydrologic Analysis (GSSHA) Model: A Model for Simulating Diverse Streamflow Producing Processes, p. 131-159, in Watershed Models, V.P. Singh, and D. Frevert, eds., Taylor and Francis Group, CRC Press, 637 pp.
  5. ^ Downer, C.W., and F.L. Ogden, 2006, Gridded Surface Subsurface Hydrologic Analysis (GSSHA) User's Manual, Version 1.43 for Watershed Modeling System 6.1, System Wide Water Resources Program, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center, ERDC/CHL SR-06-1, 207 pp.
  6. ^ Julien, PY; Saghafian, B. 1991. CASC2D Users Manual - A Two Dimensional Watershed Rainfall-Runoff Model. Civil Engr. Report, CER90-91PYJ-BS-12. Colorado State University, Fort Collins. 66 pp.
  7. ^ Ogden, F.L., and P.Y. Julien, 2002, Distributed model CASC2D, in Mathematical Models of Small Watershed Hydrology, Vol 2, V.P. Singh, R. Frevert, and D. Meyers eds., Water Resources Publications, ISBN 1-887201-35-1, 972 pp.
  8. ^ Ogden, F.L., and B. Saghafian, 1997, Green and Ampt Infiltration with Redistribution, J. Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, 123(5):386-393.
  9. ^ Kilinc, M. Y., and Richardson, E. V. (1973). "Mechanics of soil erosion from overland flow generated by simulated rainfall". Hydrology Papers No. 63, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.
  10. ^ Englund, F., and E. Hansen, A Monograph on Sediment Transport in Alluvial Streams, 62 pp., Teknisk Vorleg, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1967.

External links[edit]