A simple model to predict soil moisture: Bridging Event and Continuous Hydrological (BEACH) modelling

V. Sheikh, S.M. Visser, L. Stroosnijder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


This paper introduces a simple two-layer soil water balance model developed to Bridge Event And Continuous Hydrological (BEACH) modelling. BEACH is a spatially distributed daily basis hydrological model formulated to predict the initial condition of soil moisture for event-based soil erosion and rainfall¿runoff models. The latter models usually require the spatially distributed values of antecedent soil moisture content and other input parameters at the onset of an event. BEACH uses daily meteorological records, soil physical properties, basic crop characteristics and topographical data. The basic processes incorporated in the model are precipitation, infiltration, transpiration, evaporation, lateral flow, vertical flow and plant growth. The principal advantage of this model lies in its ability to provide timely information on the spatially distributed soil moisture content over a given area without the need for repeated field visits. The application of this model to the CATSOP experimental catchment showed that it has the capability to estimate soil moisture content with acceptable accuracy. The root mean squared error of the predicted soil moisture content for 6 monitored locations within the catchment ranged from 0.011 to 0.065 cm3 cm¿3. The predicted daily discharge at the outlet of the study area agreed well with the observed data. The coefficient of determination and Nash¿Sutcliffe efficiency of the predicted discharge were 0.824 and 0.786, respectively. BEACH has been developed within freely available GIS and programming language, PCRaster. It is a useful teaching tool for learning about distributed water balance modelling and land use scenario analysis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-556
JournalEnvironmental Modelling & Software
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • 10 iterative steps
  • richards equation
  • water-balance
  • sequential assimilation
  • variability
  • scale
  • evaporation
  • catchment
  • runoff
  • flow

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