American Journal of Water Resources
ISSN (Print): 2333-4797 ISSN (Online): 2333-4819 Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
American Journal of Water Resources. 2015, 3(5), 124-146
DOI: 10.12691/ajwr-3-5-1
Open AccessArticle

Water Balance and Climatic Classification of a Tropical City Delhi - India

Yashvant Das1,

1Research and Modeling Division, AIR Worldwide India Private Limited, Hyderabad, India

Pub. Date: November 03, 2015

Cite this paper:
Yashvant Das. Water Balance and Climatic Classification of a Tropical City Delhi - India. American Journal of Water Resources. 2015; 3(5):124-146. doi: 10.12691/ajwr-3-5-1


Water balance is a concept used to understand the availability and the overall state of water resources in a hydrological system which forms the basis of the principle of mass conservation applied to exchanges of water and ensures the magnitudes of the various water exchange processes. Urbanization results in tremendous land cover change dynamics along with subsequent changes in the water and energy balance relationship of earth-atmospheric system. In this paper an attempt has been made to illustrate the small-scale spatial and temporal characteristics of the water balance components and to classify the climate of the tropical city Delhi through the application of the water balance model. In the modeling processes, the potential evapotranspiration (PE) was computed using Thornthwaite’s method and compared with the Penmen’s for the representative station. The complete water balance is evaluated by following an elegant book-keeping procedure given by Thornthwaite. Thornthwaite and Mather’s modified moisture index scheme, which is widely used and accepted by scientific community, is adopted to classify the climate of Delhi. According to the moisture indices, the entire city falls under the semiarid category of climate, except at a location, where it shifted to dry sub humid. This could be a freak occurrence.

water balance model moisture indices climatic classification semiarid Delhi

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


Figure of 15


[1]  Andrieu, H., Chocat, B. (2004): Introduction to the special issue on urban hydrology. Journal of Hydrology, 299 (3–4), 163-165.
[2]  Ashby, W.C., Fritts, H.C. (1972): Tree growth, air pollution, and Climate near La Porte, Ind. Bull. Amer. Metreol., Soc., 53, 246-251.
[3]  Aston, A. (1977): Water resources and consumption in Hong Kong. Urban Ecol., 2, 327-353.
[4]  Atkinson, S. E., Woods, R. A., Sivapalan, M. (2002), Climate and landscape controls on water balance model complexity over changing timescales. Water Resour. Res., 38(12), 1314.
[5]  Baik, J.-J., Kim, J.-J. (1999): A numerical study of flow and pollutant dispersion characteristics in urban street canyons. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 38, 1576-1589.
[6]  Beebe, R.C.,. Morgan, Jr., G. M (1972): Synoptic analysis of summer rainfall periods exhibiting urban effects. Preprints conf. On urban environ. and second conf. Biometeorol. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 173-176.
[7]  Bell, F.C. (1972): The acquisition, consumption and elimination of water by Sydney urban system. Proc. Ecol. Soc. Aust., 7,160-176.
[8]  Bhaskar, A. S., Welty, C. (2012): Water Balances along an Urban-to-Rural Gradient of Metropolitan Baltimore, 2001-2009. Environmental & Engineering Geoscience, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, 37-50.
[9]  Budyko, M. I. (1974): Climate and Life, Elsevier, New York.
[10]  Budyko, M.I. (1982): The Earth’s Climate: Past and future. Academic Press Inc. London, 307 pp.
[11]  Campbell, T. (1982): La ciudad de Mexico como ecosistema. Ciencias Urbanas, 1, 28-35.
[12]  Changnon, S.A. Jr. (1968): The Laporte anomaly – fact or fiction? Bull Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 49, 4-11.
[13]  Changnon, S.A. Jr., Huff, F.A., Semolina, R.G. (1971): METROMEX: an investigation on inadvertent weather modification. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 52, 958-967.
[14]  Changnon, S.A. Jr., Semolina, R.G., Lowery, W.P.(1972): Inadvertent modifications of urban environments. Preprints conf. urban environs. and second conf. Biometeorol., Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 165-172.
[15]  Changnon, S.A.Jr. (1970): Reply, Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 51, 337-343.
[16]  Changnon, S.A.Jr. (1971): Comments on the effect on rainfall of a large steel works. J. Appl. Metreol., 10, 165-168.
[17]  Changnon, S.A.Jr. (1972): Urban effect on thunderstorm and hailstorm frequencies. Conf. on urban environ. and second conf. on Biometeorol., Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 177-184.
[18]  Das, Y. (2002): Spatial and temporal distribution of radiation/energy/moisture budgets over Delhi, Ph.D. Thesis, Berhampur University, Berhampur, India, 125.
[19]  Das, Y., Padmanabhamurty, B., Murty, A.S.N. (2009): Energy and water balance studies in the boundary layer over Delhi (India). Contributions to Geophysics and Geodesy, 39 (2), 163-185.
[20]  Eagleman, J. R. (1967): Pan evaporation, potential and actual evaporation. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 6 (3), 482-488.
[21]  Farmer, D., Sivapalan, M., Jothityangkoon, C. (2003): Climate, soil, and vegetation controls upon the variability of water balance in temperate and semiarid landscapes: Downward approach to water balance analysis. Water Resour. Res., 39(2), 1035.
[22]  Givoni, B. (1969): Man, Climate and Architecture. Elsevier Pub.Co. Ltd. 364.
[23]  Grimmond, C.S.B., Oke, T. R., Styen, D.G. (1986): Urban water balance I: A model for daily totals. Water Resources Research, 22, 1397-1403.
[24]  Grimmond, C.S.B., Oke, T.R (2002): Turbulent heat fluxes in urban areas: observations and a Local-scale Urban Meteorological Parameterization Scheme (LUMPS). Journal of Applied Meteorology, 41, 792-810.
[25]  Grimmond, C.S.B., Oke, T.R. (1986): Urban water balance-II: Results from a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia. Water resource research, 22, 10, 1404-1412.
[26]  Grimmond, C.S.B., Oke, T.R. (1999): Evapotranspiration rates in urban areas. Impacts of Urban growth on surface water and groundwater quality (Proceedings of IUGG '99 Symposium HS5, Birmingham, July 1999). IAHS Publ, no. 259.
[27]  Hidore, J.F. (1971): The effects of accidental weather on the flow of the Kankakee River. Bull Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 52, 99-103.
[28]  Holzman, B.G. (1971b): More on the La Porte fallacy (with reply by Hidore). Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 52, 572-574.
[29]  Holzman, B.G., Thom, H.C.S. (1970): The La Porte precipitation anomaly. Bull. Amer. Metreol. Soc., 51, 335-337.
[30]  Huff, F.A., Changnon Jr. S.A. (1972a): Inadvertent precipitation modification by major urban area. Proc. Third conf. Weath. Modf., Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 73-78.
[31]  Kyuma, K. (1971): 'Climate of South and Southeast Asia According to Thornthwaite's Classification Scheme. Southeast Asian Studies (Kyoto), .9 (1): 1 36 1 58.
[32]  Kyuma, K. (1972): Numerical Classification of the Climate of South and Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian Studies (Kyoto), 9 (4): 502-521.
[33]  Landsberg, H.E. (1972): Inadvertent atmospheric modifications through urbanization. Tech. Note No. BN 741, Instit. Fluid Dyn. Appl. Math., Univ. Maryland, 73.
[34]  Leao, S. (2014): Mapping 100 Years of Thornthwaite Moisture Index: Impact of Climate Change in Victoria, Australia. Geographical Research, 52 (3), 309-327.
[35]  Legates, D.R., McCabe, G.J. (2005): A re-evaluation of the average annual global water balance: Physical Geography, v. 26, 467-479.
[36]  Leopold, L. B. (1968): Hydrology for Urban Land Planning—A Guidebook on the Hydrologic Effects of Urban Land Use: U.S. Geological Survey, Circular, 554, 18.
[37]  Lindh, G. (1978): Urban hydrological modeling and catchment research in Swede. [In Research on Urban Hydrology], Edited by B. McPherson, 2 229-265. UNESCO, Paris.
[38]  Lull, H.W., Sopper, W.E. (1969): Hydrologic effects from urbanization of forested watersheds in the Northeast, USDA, Forest Service Research Paper, NE-146, 31.
[39]  L'vovich, M.I., Chernogayeva, G.M. (1977): Transformation of the water balance within the city of Moscow. Sov. Geogr., 18, 302-312.
[40]  Maruyama, E. (1978): Fluctuation of Paddy Yield and Water Resources in Southeast Asia. In: Climatic Change and Food Production (Eds.K. Takahashi and M. M. Yoshin), 155-166. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press.
[41]  Mather, J.R. (1974): Climatology: Fundamental and Application. McGraw-Hill Book Company. USA.
[42]  McCabe, G.J., Markstrom, S.L. (2007): A monthly water-balance model driven by a graphical user interface: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File report -1088, 6.
[43]  Moore, W.L. Morgan, C.W (1969): Effects of watershed changes on Stream flow, Univ. of Texas Press, Austin.
[44]  Muller, R.D. (1968): Some effects of urbanization on runoff as evaluated by Thornthwaite water balance models. Proc. 3rd. Ann. Conf. Amer. Water Resources Asso. 245.
[45]  Novotny, V. (1995): Non-point pollution and Urban Stormwater Management. Technomic Publishing Co., Lancaster, PA.
[46]  Ogden, T.L. (1969): The effect of rainfall on a large steel works. J. Appl. Meteorol, 8, 585-591.
[47]  Padmanabhamurty, B. (1981): Inadvertent modification of water balance- A problem of urban hydrology. Vayu Mandal, 36-39.
[48]  Padmanabhamurty, B. (1994): 'Urban-rural energy and moisture balance studies': Final Report on DST Project. Ref. No. ES/63/018/86., (Govt. of India).
[49]  Padmanabhamurty, B. (1999): ' Spatial and temporal variations of radiation, energy and moisture budgets in the boundary layer at Delhi': Final Report on DST Project. Ref. No. ES/48/319/95, (Govt. of India).
[50]  Padmanabhamurty, B., Satyanarayana, C.V.V. Rao., Dakshinamurti, J. (1970): On the water balances of some Indian stations. Journal of Hydrology, 11, 169-184.
[51]  Penman, H.L. (1948): Natural evaporation from open waters, bare soil and grass. Proc. Roy. Soc. London, A 193, 120.
[52]  Pushpam, (2004): Ecosystem Services of Floodplains: An Exploration of Water Recharge Potential of the Yamuna Floodplain for Delhi. Paper Presented at the conference on Market Development of Water & Waste Technologies through Environmental Economics, 28th-29th May 2004, Paris.
[53]  Rahimi, S., Sefidkouhi, M.A.G, Raeini-Sarjaz, M. Valipour, M. (2015f): Estimation of actual evapotranspiration by using MODIS images (a case study: Tajan catchment. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science, 61(5), 695-709.
[54]  Rao, K.N., George, C. J., Ramasastri, K.S. (1976): The climatic water balance of India. Vol. XXXII, Part II, (IMD, Publication).
[55]  Sankarasubramanian, A., Vogel, R.M.(2002): Annual hydroclimatology of the United States. Water Resour. Res., 38(6), 1083.
[56]  Schaakel, J.C. Jr. (1972): Water and the city; in urbanization and Environment, Detwyler, T.R. and M.G. Marcus (eds.), Duxbury Press, 97-134.
[57]  Shepherd, J. M. (2005): A review of current investigations of urban-induced rainfall and recommendations for the future: Earth Interactions, 9, 1-27.
[58]  Subrahmanyam, V.P. (1982): Water balance and its application. (With special reference to India). Monograph, Andhra University Press, Waltair, Visakhapatnam, India, 102.
[59]  Thornthwaite, C.W. (1948): An Approach toward a Rational Classification of Climate. Geog. Rev., 38: 55-94.
[60]  Thornthwaite, C.W. Mather, J.R (1955): Water balance publication in climatology. Drexel Ins. of Tech., 8(1).
[61]  Trauth, R., Xanthopoulos, C. (1997): Non-point pollution of groundwater in urban areas. Water Research, 31, 2711-2718.
[62]  Valipour, M. (2014a): Analysis of potential evapotranspiration using limited weather data. Appl. Water Sci..
[63]  Valipour, M. (2014b): Application of new mass transfer formulae for computation of evapotranspiration. Journal of Applied Water Engineering and Research,2(1), 33-46.
[64]  Valipour, M. (2014c): Importance of solar radiation, temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed for calculation of reference evapotranspiration. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science, 61(2).
[65]  Valipour, M. (2014d): Investigation of Valiantzas’ evapotranspiration equation in Iran. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 121(1-2), 267-278.
[66]  Valipour, M. (2015a): Study of different climatic conditions to assess the role of solar radiation in reference crop evapotranspiration equations. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science, 61(5), 679-694.
[67]  Valipour, M. (2015b): Calibration of mass transfer-based models to predict reference crop evapotranspiration. Appl Water Sci.
[68]  Valipour, M. (2015c): Comparative Evaluation of Radiation-Based Methods for Estimation of Potential Evapotranspiration. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 20(5):04014068.
[69]  Valipour, M. (2015d): Evaluation of radiation methods to study potential evapotranspiration of 31 provinces. Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, 127(3), 289-303.
[70]  Valipour, M. (2015e): Temperature analysis of reference evapotranspiration models. Meteorological Applications, 22(3), 385-394.
[71]  Valipour, M. Eslamian, S. (2014e): Analysis of potential evapotranspiration using 11 modified temperature-based models. Int. J. of Hydrology Science and Technology, 4(3)192-207.
[72]  Watkins (1963): Research on surface –water drainage. Proc. Instit. Civil Engin., 24, 305-330.
[73]  Wolock, D. M., McCabe, G. J. (1999): Explaining spatial variability in mean annual runoff in the conterminous United States. Clim. Res., 11, 149-159.
[74]  Woods, R. (2003): The relative roles of climate, soil, vegetation and topography in determining seasonal and long-term catchment dynamics. Adv. Water Resour., 26, 295-309.