Assessing the role of uncertain precipitation estimates on the robustness of hydrological model parameters under highly variable climate conditions

Bisselink B, Zambrano-Bigiarini M, Burek P, & de Roo A (2016). Assessing the role of uncertain precipitation estimates on the robustness of hydrological model parameters under highly variable climate conditions. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies 8: 112-129. DOI:10.1016/j.ejrh.2016.09.003.

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Project: A collaborative project aimed at pre-validation of a GMES Global Water Scarcity Information Service (GLOWASIS, FP7 262255)

Abstract

Study region

Four headwaters in Southern Africa.

Study focus

The streamflow regimes in Southern Africa are amongst the most variable in the world. The corresponding differences in streamflow bias and variability allowed us to analyze the behavior and robustness of the LISFLOOD hydrological model parameters. A differential split-sample test is used for calibration using seven satellite-based rainfall estimates, in order to assess the robustness of model parameters. Robust model parameters are of high importance when they have to be transferred both in time and space. For calibration, the modified Kling-Gupta statistic was used, which allowed us to differentiate the contribution of the correlation, bias and variability between the simulated and observed streamflow.

New hydrological insights

Results indicate large discrepancies in terms of the linear correlation (r), bias (β) and variability (γ) between the observed and simulated streamflows when using different precipitation estimates as model input. The best model performance was obtained with products which ingest gauge data for bias correction. However, catchment behavior was difficult to be captured using a single parameter set and to obtain a single robust parameter set for each catchment, which indicate that transposing model parameters should be carried out with caution. Model parameters depend on the precipitation characteristics of the calibration period and should therefore only be used in target periods with similar precipitation characteristics (wet/dry).

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Satellite-based rainfall estimates; Highly variable climate conditions; Differential split-sample; Calibration; Model parameter robustness; Hydrological modelling; Southern Africa
Research Programs: Water (WAT)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2016 06:33
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2017 09:31
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/13842

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