Sources of uncertainty in the NRCS CN model: Recognition and solutions

Pablo Durán-Barroso, Javier González, Juan B. Valdés

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The Natural Resources Conservation Service Curve Number model is one of the most recognizable procedures in the field of rainfall–run-off estimation. It has been widely applied for different purposes in hydrological models. In spite of its widespread use, some uncertainties have not even clarified and must be examined for its proper application. Particularly, choosing the most representative rainfall–run-off events, and the coefficient λ that relates the parameters of the model (curve number CN and initial abstraction Ia). In this research, an advanced analysis is developed to evaluate the influence of λ for a set of representative watersheds of the Agricultural Research Service of the United Stated Department of Agriculture. They are characterized by different soil properties, land uses, and climatic conditions. Finally, 2 novel methodologies for the selection of the most representative rainfall–run-off events and for the adaptation of coefficient λ are included, based on the pattern of rainfall distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3898-3906
Number of pages9
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number22
StatePublished - Oct 30 2017


  • ID curve
  • NRCS CN model
  • gauged watersheds
  • rainfall–run-off modelling
  • sources of uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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