Modeling the Hellenic karst catchments with the Sacramento Soil Moisture Accounting model


K. Katsanou


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Publication Date

January 2017


Karst aquifers are very complex due to the presence of dual porosity. Rain–runoff hydrological models are frequently used to characterize these aquifers and assist in their management. The calibration of such models requires knowledge of many parameters, whose quality can be directly related to the quality of the simulation results. The Sacramento Soil Moisture Accounting (SAC-SMA) model includes a number of physically based parameters that permit accurate simulations and predictions of the rain–runoff relationships. Due to common physical characteristics of mature karst structures, expressed by sharp recession limbs of the runoff hydrographs, the calibration of the model becomes relatively simple, and the values of the parameters range within narrow bands. The most sensitive parameters are those related to groundwater storage regulated by the zone of the epikarst. The SAC-SMA model was calibrated for data from the mountainous part of the Louros basin, north-western Greece, which is considered to be representative of such geological formations. Visual assessment of the hydrographs as statistical outcomes revealed that the SAC-SMA model simulated the timing and magnitude of the peak flow and the shape of recession curves well.


Epicarst, Karst, Mountainous Catchments, Greece, Modeling

Document Type



Hydrogeology Journal, Vol. 25, no. 3 (2017).