The Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) Macroscale Hydrology Model


Developed at the University of Washington, the VIC model is a fully-distributed, physically-based regional-scale hydrology model which solves the H2O and energy budgets at every time step (from 1-24 hours) and for every grid cell. It was developed for large-scale applications (1/16th - 2), in which sub-grid variability in land cover and topography is based on statistical relationships. VIC accounts for key moisture and energy fluxes between the land surface and the atmosphere and includes algorithms for shallow subsurface (frozen and unfrozen) moisture, snow, lake, and wetland dynamics. VIC has been applied over all continental land areas, and has been used extensively over the Columbia River Basin.


Further Information

VIC Model Home Page: http://www.hydro.washington.edu/Lettenmaier/Models/VIC/

VIC model

Select Model Development Publications:

  • Andreadis K., Storck P., Lettenmaier D.P., 2009. Modeling snow accumulation and ablation processes in forested environments, Water Resources Research, 45, W05429, doi:10.1029/2008WR007042.
  • Cherkauer, K. A. and D. P. Lettenmaier, 1999. Hydrologic effects of frozen soils in the upper Mississippi River basin, J. Geophys. Res., 104(D16), 19, 599-19, 610.
  • Gao, H., Q. Tang, X. Shi, C. Zhu, T. J. Bohn, F. Su, J. Sheffield, M. Pan, D. P. Lettenmaier, and E. F. Wood, 2010. Water Budget Record from Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) Model. In Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document for Terrestrial Water Cycle Data Records (in review).
  • Liang, X., D. P. Lettenmaier, E. F. Wood, and S. J. Burges, 1994. A Simple hydrologically Based Model of Land Surface Water and Energy Fluxes for GSMs, J. Geophys. Res., 99(D7), 14, 415-14, 428.

Select BioEarth-Relevant Publications:

  • Elsner, M.M., Cuo L., Voisin N., Deems J.S., Hamlet A.F., Vano J.A., Mickelson K.E.B., Lee S.Y., Lettenmaier D.P., 2010. Implications of 21st Century climate change for the hydrology of Washington State. Climatic Change doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9855-0.
  • Hamlet, A.F., and Lettenmaier D.P., 1999. Effects of climate change on hydrology and water resources in the Columbia river basin, Journal of the American Water Resources Association 35: 1597-1623.
  • Maurer, E.P., A.W. Wood, J.C. Adam, D.P. Lettenmaier, and B. Nijssen, 2002. A long-term hydrologically-based data set of land surface fluxes and states for the conterminous United States. Journal of Climate 15: 3237-3251.
  • Zhu C., L.R. Leung, D. Gochis, Y. Qian, and D.P. Lettenmaier, 2009. Evaluating the influence of antecedent soil moisture on variability of the North American Monsoon precipitation in the coupled MM5/VIC modeling system. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, doi:10.3894/JAMES.2009.1.13
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