USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS)

The Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) is a modular-design, deterministic, distributed-parameter modeling system developed to evaluate the impacts of various combinations of precipitation, climate, and land use on streamflow, sediment yields, and general basin hydrology.

As described by the developers, the need to assess the effects of variability in climate, biota, geology, and human activities on water availability and flow requires computer models that simulate the hydrologic cycle at a watershed scale. The Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) is a deterministic, distributed-parameter; physical process based modeling system developed to evaluate the response of various combinations of climate and land use on streamflow and general watershed hydrology.

The primary objectives of PRMS are:

(1) simulation of hydrologic processes including evaporation, transpiration, runoff, infiltration, and interflow as determined by the energy and water budgets of the plant canopy, snowpack, and soil zone on the basis of distributed climate information (temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation);

(2) simulation of hydrologic water budgets at the watershed scale for temporal scales ranging from days to centuries;

(3) integration of PRMS with other models used for natural-resource management or with models from other scientific disciplines; and

(4) providing a modular design that allows for selection of alternative hydrologic-process algorithms from the standard PRMS module library.


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Publication Date: March 15, 2015

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  • Modeling tool


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