Uncertainty and multiple objective calibration in regional water balance modelling: case study in 320 Austrian catchments

Institute for Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineering, Vienna University of Technology, Karlsplatz 13/222, A-1040 Vienna, Austria
Hydrological Processes (Impact Factor: 2.5). 02/2007; 21(4):435 - 446. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.6253

ABSTRACT We examine the value of additional information in multiple objective calibration in terms of model performance and parameter uncertainty. We calibrate and validate a semi-distributed conceptual catchment model for two 11-year periods in 320 Austrian catchments and test three approaches of parameter calibration: (a) traditional single objective calibration (SINGLE) on daily runoff; (b) multiple objective calibration (MULTI) using daily runoff and snow cover data; (c) multiple objective calibration (APRIORI) that incorporates an a priori expert guess about the parameter distribution as additional information to runoff and snow cover data. Results indicate that the MULTI approach performs slightly poorer than the SINGLE approach in terms of runoff simulations, but significantly better in terms of snow cover simulations. The APRIORI approach is essentially as good as the SINGLE approach in terms of runoff simulations but is slightly poorer than the MULTI approach in terms of snow cover simulations. An analysis of the parameter uncertainty indicates that the MULTI approach significantly decreases the uncertainty of the model parameters related to snow processes but does not decrease the uncertainty of other model parameters as compared to the SINGLE case. The APRIORI approach tends to decrease the uncertainty of all model parameters as compared to the SINGLE case. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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