The development of process-oriented hydrological models, which are able to simulate hydrological processes distributed in space and time, is crucial for optimal management of water resources. The model TACD (tracer aided catchment model, distributed) was modified and applied to the mountainous Loehnersbach catchment (16 km2), Kitzbueheler Alps, Austria, with the aim of simulating the dominant hydrological processes in a distributed way. It can be seen as a further developed, fully distributed version of the HBV-model with a more process-based runoff generation routine, which uses a spatial delineation of hydrological response units (HRUs). Good overall runoff simulations could be obtained for the whole catchment. Additional data, i.e. discharge from sub-catchments, snow height measurements and dissolved silica concentrations, enabled to some extent the evalulation of the simulation of single processes. Certain periods, e.g. short-term runoff fluctuations during snow melt periods, could not be simulated well even when different model modifications were executed. This indicates model shortcomings because of incomplete process understanding and the necessity for further experimental research as well as for new concepts of model structure. In particular, the understanding and mathematical description of subsurface storm flows has to be improved. The impact of different HRU delineations on discharge simulations at the catchment outlet was relatively low, as long as the direct runoff producing units remained constant. However, the impact on runoff predictions at sub-catchment scale was significant. This indicates an ’averaging out’ effect for peculiarities and errors of runoff predictions at larger scales.

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