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Physically based, fully distributed model designed to simulate the water cycle in hydrographic catchments.
Year of publication: 2019
hydrologysoil-physicsland-surface-processescritical-zonevadose-zonesite sub-catchmentcatchment-n-regional1D2D 3D


Ramiro Neves, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal.

Ana R. Oliveira, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal.

Tiago B. Ramos, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal.



MOHID-Land is a physically based, fully distributed model designed to simulate the water cycle in hydrographic catchments. The model considers four compartments or mediums (atmosphere, porous media, soil surface, and river network). The atmosphere is not explicitly simulated but provides data necessary for imposing surface boundary conditions that may be space and time variant. Water moves through the remaining mediums based on mass and momentum conservation equations that are computed using a finite volume approach. The simulation domain is organized into a regular structured grid, quadrangular or rectangular in the horizontal plane, and cartesian type in the vertical plane. Surface land is thus described by a 2D horizontal grid. The porous media is a 3D domain, which includes the same horizontal grid as the surface complemented with a vertical grid with variable thickness layers. The river network is a 1D domain defined from the digital terrain model (DTM), with the drainage network linking surface cells center (nodes). The model further uses an explicit algorithm with a variable time step that is maximum during dry seasons when fluxes are reduced and minimum when fluxes increase (e.g., during rain events). More information at


Scientific articles


Nanuto, N., Ramos, T.B., Oliveira, A.R., Simionesei, L., Basso, M., Neves, R., 2019. Influence of reservoir management on Guadiana streamflow regime. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies 25, 100628;

Ramos, T.B., Simionesei, L., Jauch, E., Almeida, C., Neves, R., 2017. Modelling soil water and maize growth dynamics influenced by shallow groundwater conditions in the Sorraia Valley region, Portugal. Agricultural Water Management 185, 27-42,

Brito, D., Neves, R., Branco, M.C., Gonçalves, M.C., Ramos, T.B., 2017. Modeling flood dynamics in a temporary river draining to an eutrophic reservoir in southeast Portugal. Environmental Earth Sciences 76, 377,

Bernard-Jannin, L., Brito, D., Sun, X., Jauch, E., Neves, R., Sauvage, S., Sánchez-Pérez, J.M., 2016. Spatially distributed modelling of surface water groundwater exchanges during overbank flood events – a case study at the Garonne River. Adv. Water Res. 94, 146–159,

Epelde, A.M., Antiguedad, I., Brito, D., Jauch, E., Neves, R., Garneau, C., Sauvage, S., Sánchez-Pérez, J.M., 2016. Different modelling approaches to evaluate nitrogen transport and turn over at the watershed scale. J. Hydrol. 539, 478–494,

Trancoso, A.R., Braunschweig, F., Chambel Leitão, P., Obermann, M., Neves, R., 2009. An advanced modelling tool for simulating complex river systems. Sci. Total Environ. 407, 3004–3016,

Technical information

Operating system(s): Windows

Licence: No license required. License needed only for the graphical interface.

Output(s): Many different outputs can be selected depending on the user choice.

Export format(s): txt and hdf5 files

Other information: Source code available at

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