Open Access

Comparing Methods for Computing the Time of Concentration in a Medium-Sized Hungarian Catchment


One of the most often-used parameters that describes morphology and runoff from a watershed is the time of concentration (Tc). At gauged watersheds, Tc can be determined using rainfall and a runoff hydrograph, while for ungauged watersheds, empirical equations are used. A good initial estimate of Tc greatly improves the accuracy of runoff predictions. In our study, we applied 14 empirical equations to determine Tc. Tarján Creek, which is located in northeastern Hungary, was selected as the trial gauged watershed. It is located in a mountainous region with an area of 72 km2. The input parameters for the empirical equations were determined using geoinformatical tools. To evaluate the accuracy of the empirical equations, HEC-HMS was used to model the runoff. Using the measured runoff data, both continuous and event-based models were calibrated. For direct runoff, Clark’s unit hydrograph was selected. Tc is one of the input parameters for this model. After the calibration, the estimates from the empirical equations for Tc were compared to the HEC-HMS calibrated values for each subwatershed. The empirical estimates varied greatly. The Wisnovszky-equation, which is most often used in Hungary, underestimated Tc.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Engineering, Introductions and Overviews, other