Alan Robock
Department of Environmental Sciences,
Rutgers University

Konstantin Vinnikov
Department of Meteorology, University of Maryland

C. Adam Schlosser
Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Nina A. Speranskaya
State Hydrological Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia


The Valdai water-balance research station (57.6N, 33.1E) in the forest zone of Russia, is operated by the State Hydrological Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia. Measurements for many decades have been published in reference books in Russia, but have not until recently been available to the international scientific community. Fedorov (1977) produced a comprehensive analysis of these data, but it is not available in English. We have used only a very small subset of the entire data set. The work on preparing these data was organized as a joint project between the Department of Meteorology of the University of Maryland, led by Alan Robock, and the State Hydrological Institute in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), led by Konstantin Vinnikov. Since 1991, the Russian part of the work has been directed by Dr. Nina Speranskaya, with assistance from Anatoly Kapotov, Natalia Kapotova, Victoria Koknaeva and Natalia Grib. Dr. Valentin Golubev and Dr. Stepan Fedorov served as scientific consultants, as they directed all the scientific experiments at the Valdai station during the past several decades. Dr. Speranskaya continues to work to provide additional data sets from Valdai.

The work was conducted under the auspices of the Soviet-American Agreement on Protection of the Natural Environment, Working Group VIII. It has been supported by NOAA grants NA90AADAC804, NA36GPO311, and NA56GPO212, NASA Grants NCC555 and NAGW5227, and the International Science Foundation (Soros) Supplemental Grants Program grant SC8000.

The data are described in detail by Vinnikov et al. (1996), and have been used by Schlosser et al. (1997) as forcing and evaluation data for land surface simulations with bucket and SSiB models. The data are now being used by the Project for Intercomparison of Landsurface Parameterization Schemes (PILPS) Phase 2(d) experiment. The instructions for conducting the PILPS 2d experiment and the forcing data for Valdai at 3 hour interval and at 30 min interval (interpolated) are available, and we are still accepting the results from new modeling groups. As the initial runs have been completed, however, we are now making the evaluation data available.

Data Sets

Data were collected from three catchments within the research site:

All the watersheds are the part of lake Valdai basin (155 km2).

The complete data set consists of 16 files:
  1. Valdai.readme (you're reading it)
  2. Usad.soilm
  3. Usad.runoff
  4. Usad.evap
  5. Usad.snow
  6. Usad.wtrtbl
  7. Usad.freezingdepth
  8. Taiy.runoff
  9. Taiy.soilm
  10. Taiy.snow
  11. Taiy.wtrtbl
  12. Sign.soilm
  13. Sign.runoff
  14. Sign.snow
  15. Sign.wtrtbl
  16. Valdai.precip

The data files for the catchment observations are named according to catchment and hydrologic variable. The prefix of the name of a file refers to the catchment:

		Prefix		Catchment
		======		=========

		Usad		Usadievskiy
		Taiy		Tayozhniy
		Sign		Sinaya Gnilka

The suffix of the name of the file refers to the hydrologic parameter:

		Suffix		Variable
		=======		========

	        soilm		catchment averaged total soil moisture
						   for 20,50, & 100cm

		runoff		catchment runoff
		wtrtbl		catchment averaged water table depth
		snow		catchment averaged water equivalent
						   snow depth

		evap		catchment averaged evaporation taken
				from Federov (1977) data (Usadievskiy

The main characteristics of the experimental watersheds are given in the table below where the numbered columns denote:

      1 ----> the area (sq. km),
      2 ----> the length of main streamflow (km),
      3 ----> the altitude of basin (m above sea level),
      4 ----> the mean slope of watershed (m/km),
      5 ----> the mean slope of channel (m/km),
      6-10 -----> percentage of soil-ground types:
           6 = sand,
           7 = sandy loam,light loam,
           8 = loam,
           9 = hard loam,
          10 = marsh.

         Table of Soil Characteristics for Valdai Watersheds

        |    1  |   2  |  3  |  4  |  5 |  6 |  7 |  8 |  9 | 10
Usad    |  .36  |  .97 | 212 |  76 | 22 | 16 | 28 | 18 | 26 | 12
Taiga   |  .45  | 1.30 | 210 |  85 | 20 |  3 | 30 | 33 | 20 | 14
Sign    |  .015 |  .15 | 210 | 104 | 74 |  0 | 25 | 75 |  0 |  0

The remaining files consists of observations of monthly flow values (the "*.runoff" files), total soil moisture store in layers of 0-20,0-50, 0-100 cm (the "*.soilm" files), depth of ground water table (the "*.wtrtbl files), water content in snow cower (the "*.snow* files), evaporation (file "Usad.evap"), and precipitation (file "Valdai.precip").

The monthly flow values (the "*.runoff files"):

The monthly flow values are given in millimeters. They were computed as a sum of daily values. Each file consists of: the name of watershed (in the first line; FORMAT (A20)) and what follows are 31 lines by 13 values in each line: the number of year and 12 monthly flow values (FORMAT (A4,1X,12(F5.1))).

Certain values of the monthly flow are used to denote special conditions:
a value of:	999.9 means the lack of data
		888.8 means streamflow freezing
		777.7 means streamflow drying

Total soil moisture (the "*.soilm files"):

In these files,the mean monthly soil moisture store for the layers of 0-20, 0-50, 0-100 cm are given in millimeters for the end of each month. They were computed by using data from 9-11 observational points distributed over the basin area.

Each file contains the name of basin (in the first line; FORMAT (A20)) and followed by 31 groups by 3 lines: the first line - the number of year and 12 monthly soil moisture values for the layer of 0-20 cm (FORMAT (13i4)), the second line - 12 monthly soil moisture values for the layer of 0-50 cm (FORMAT (4X,12i4)), the third line - 12 monthly soil moisture values for the layer of 0-100 cm (FORMAT (4X,12i4)).

Note that a value of 9999 means the lack of data

Depth of ground water table (the "*.wtrtbl" files):

In these files,the mean monthly depth of ground water table are given in centimeters for the end of each month. They were computed by using data from 14 observational points (wells) for Usadievsky, from 10 points for Taiga and from 10 observational points for Sinia Gnilka.

Each file contains the name of basin in the first line; FORMAT (A20), followed by 31 lines by 13 values in each line: the number of year and 12 monthly values of ground water table depth (FORMAT (13i4)).

Water equivalent snow depth (the "*.snow" files):

In these files,the mean values of the water content are given in millimeters. Each file contains the name of watershed in the first line (FORMAT (A20)); The data is then given in blocks for each year. The first entry of the block is the year (FORMAT (I4)) and then groups of 3 values follow which are: day of month, month, and the value of water equiv. snow depth for that day (in millimeters) - format for EACH GROUP of three values is FORMAT (2I3,I4). These groups of three values continue until the water equivalent snow depth data is completed for the year.

Note that a value of 9999 means the lack of data.

Monthly evaporation for Usadievskiy (the "Usad.evap" file):

These data were taken from Federov (1977). Monthly measurements of evaporation were taken during the warmer months, May to October, using lysimeters. For the remaining months (November to April), an estimate of evaporation was calculated using the Budyko (1956) algorithm for potential evaporation.

Each line starts with the year, and then 12 values follow of monthly evaporation (in millmeters/month) using the format: FORMAT (13I4).

Depth of soil freezing and soil melting for Usadievskiy (the "Usad.freezingdepth" file).

Monthly precipitation (the "Valdai.precip" file):

Observations of precipitation were taken in a small plot near the Usadievskiy catchment. This file contains the monthly totals of observed precipitation given in millimeters.

Each line in the file contains 13 values starting with the year and followed by 12 values of monthly precipitation (from January to December). Format for reading data is: FORMAT (I4,1X,12F5.1).

Daily soil temperature data for Usadievskiy (the "Usad.soiltemp.daily" directory):

Files contain daily soil temperature in C, from January 1966 through December 1983. These data are being used in PILPS 2(d) experiments.

Daily runoff data for Usadievskiy (the "Usad.runoff.daily" directory):

Files contain daily runoff data from January 1966 through December 1983. Runoff data were calculated from original discharge data and these data are being used in PILPS 2(d) experiments.


Budyko, M. I., 1956: Heat Balance of the Earth's Surface, Gidrometeoizdat, Leningrad, 255 pp. (in Russian)

Fedorov, S. F., 1977: A Study of the Water Balance Components at the Forest Zone of the European Part of the USSR, 264 pp., Gidrometeoizdat, Leningrad. [in Russian]

Luo, Lifeng, Alan Robock, Konstantin Y. Vinnikov, C. Adam Schlosser, Andrew G. Slater, Aaron Boone, Harald Braden, Peter Cox, Patricia de Rosnay, Robert E. Dickinson, Yong-Jiu Dai, Qingyun Duan, Jared Entin, Pierre Etchevers, Ann Henderson-Sellers, Nicola Gedney, Yevgeniy M. Gusev, Florence Habets, Jinwon Kim, Eva Kowalczyk, Kenneth Mitchell, Olga N. Nasonova, Joel Noilhan, Andrew J. Pitman, John Schaake, Andrey B. Shmakin, Tatiana G. Smirnova, Diana Verseghy, Peter Wetzel, Yongkang Xue, Zong-Liang Yang, and Qing-Cun Zeng, 2003: Effects of frozen soil on soil temperature, spring infiltration, and runoff: Results from the PILPS 2(d) experiment at Valdai, Russia. J. Hydrometeorology, 4, 334-351. PDF file ( Copyright 2003 AMS)

Schlosser, C. Adam, Alan Robock, Konstantin Ya. Vinnikov, Nina A. Speranskaya, and Yongkang Xue, 1997: 18-Year land-surface hydrology model simulations for a midlatitude grassland catchment in Valdai, Russia. Mon. Weather Rev., 125, 3279-3296. ABSTRACT, PDF file ( Copyright 1997 AMS)

Schlosser, C. A., A. G. Slater, A. Robock, A. J. Pitman, K. Y. Vinnikov, A. Henderson-Sellers, N. A. Speranskaya, K. Mitchell, and the PILPS 2(d) contributors, 2000: Simulations of a boreal grassland hydrology at Valdai, Russia: PILPS Phase 2(d). Mon. Weather Rev, 128, 301-321. ABSTRACT , PDF file ( Copyright 2000 AMS)

Slater, A.G., C. A. Schlosser, C. E. Desborough, A. J. Pitman, A. Henderson-Sellers, A. Robock, K. Ya. Vinnikov, K. Mitchell, A. Boone, H. Braden, F. Chen, P. M. Cox, P. de Rosnay, R.E. Dickinson, Y-J. Dai, Q. Duan, J. Entin, P. Etchevers, N. Gedney, Ye. M. Gusev, F. Habets, J. Kim, V. Koren, E. Kowalczyk, O. N. Nasonova, J. Noilhan, J. Schaake, A. B. Shmakin, T. G. Smirnova, D. Verseghy, P. Wetzel, Y. Xue, Z-L. Yang, Q. Zeng, 2001: The representation of snow in land-surface schemes; Results from PILPS 2(d). J. Hydrometeorol., 2, 7-25. PDF file ( Copyright 2001 AMS)

Vinnikov, Konstantin Ya., Alan Robock, Nina A. Speranskaya, and C. Adam Schlosser, 1996: Scales of temporal and spatial variability of midlatitude soil moisture. J. Geophys. Res., 101, 7163-7174. ABSTRACT , PDF file


Prepared by Alan Robock (
Last updated on Jan 18, 2007