Runoff Curve Number

The runoff curve number (also called a curve number or simply CN) is an empirical parameter used in hydrology for predicting direct runoff or infiltration from rainfall excess. The curve number method was developed by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, which was formerly called the Soil Conservation Service or SCS — the number is still popularly known as a "SCS runoff curve number" in the literature. The runoff curve number was developed from an empirical analysis of runoff from small catchments and hillslope plots monitored by the USDA. It is widely used and is an efficient method for determining the approximate amount of direct runoff from a rainfall event in a particular area.

The runoff curve number is based on the area's hydrologic soil group, land use, treatment and hydrologic condition. References, such as from USDA indicate the runoff curve numbers for characteristic land cover descriptions and a hydrologic soil group.

The runoff equation is

where

is runoff (; in)
is rainfall (; in)
is the potential maximum soil moisture retention after runoff begins (; in)
is the initial abstraction (; in), or the amount of water before runoff, such as infiltration, or rainfall interception by vegetation; and it is generally assumed that

The runoff curve number, is then related

has a range from 30 to 100; lower numbers indicate low runoff potential while larger numbers are for increasing runoff potential. The lower the curve number, the more permeable the soil is.

Read more about Runoff Curve Number:  Antecedent Moisture Condition (AMC) Adjustment, See Also

Other articles related to "runoff curve number":

Runoff Curve Number - See Also
... Hydrological modelling Runoff model (reservoir). ...

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