The main purpose of this study was to implement and test routing algorithms in the distributed Hydrologiska Byråns Vattenbalansavdelning (HBV) model with the emphasis of obtaining a most suitable routing algorithm for large mountainous catchments. Two routing algorithms were built into the grid-based HBV model and tested on the Losna (11,213 km2) and the Norsfoss (18,932 km2) catchments in central southern Norway. In the first algorithm, runoff is first routed from cell to cell and hydrographs are re-calculated at each cell, and then runoff is routed by the Muskingum–Cunge method in river channels. The second algorithm is a source-to-sink method, which routes runoff of all cells to the catchment outlet as a function of local slope and a calibrated velocity parameter. The routing approaches were compared at different spatial resolutions (i.e. 1, 5 and 10 km) in daily streamflow simulation. Additionally, the elevation band-based semi-distributed model was also compared with the distributed models. The results show that the distributed HBV models are able to perform better than the elevation band-based model, and hillslope routing is crucial in the mountainous catchments. However, incorporating the Muskingum–Cunge channel routing does not add value to the simulation of daily runoff in the mountainous catchments.

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