Uncertainty and multiple objective calibration in regional water balance modelling: case study in 320 Austrian catchments
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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ABSTRACT: A key factor for sustainable management of groundwater systems is the accurate estimation of groundwater recharge. Hydrological models are common tools for such estimations and widely used. As such models need to be calibrated against measured values, the absence of adequate data can be problematic. We present a nested multi-response calibration approach for a semi-distributed hydrological model in the semi-arid catchment of Wadi al Arab in Jordan, with sparsely available runoff data. The basic idea of the calibration approach is to use diverse observations in a nested strategy, in which sub-parts of the model are calibrated to various observation data types in a consecutive manner. First, the available different data sources have to be screened for information content of processes, e.g. if data sources contain information on mean values, spatial or temporal variability etc. for the entire catchment or only sub-catchments. In a second step, the information content has to be mapped to relevant model components, which represent these processes. Then the data source is used to calibrate the respective subset of model parameters, while the remaining model parameters remain unchanged. This mapping is repeated for other available data sources. In that study the gauged spring discharge (GSD) method, flash flood observations and data from the chloride mass balance (CMB) are used to derive plausible parameter ranges for the conceptual hydrological model J2000g. The water table fluctuation (WTF) method is used to validate the model. Results from modelling using a priori parameter values from literature as a benchmark are compared. The estimated recharge rates of the calibrated model deviate less than ±10% from the estimates derived from WTF method. Larger differences are visible in the years with high uncertainties in rainfall input data. The performance of the calibrated model during validation produces better results than applying the model with only a priori parameter values. The model with a priori parameter values from literature tends to overestimate recharge rates with up to 30%, particular in the wet winter of 1991/1992. An overestimation of groundwater recharge and hence available water resources clearly endangers reliable water resource managing in water scarce region. The proposed nested multi-response approach may help to better predict water resources despite data scarcity.Journal of Hydrology 02/2014; 509:193-206. · 2.96 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Large uncertainties in streamflow projections derived from downscaled climate projections of precipitation and temperature can render such simulations of limited value for decision making in the context of water resources management. New approaches are being sought to provide decision makers with robust information in the face of such large uncertainties. We present an alternative approach that starts with the stakeholder's definition of vulnerable ranges for relevant hydrologic indicators. Then, the modeled system is analyzed to assess under what conditions these thresholds are exceeded. The space of possible climates and land use combinations for a watershed is explored to isolate sub-spaces that lead to vulnerability, while considering model parameter uncertainty in the analysis. We implement this concept using classification and regression trees (CART) that separate the input space of climate and land use change into those combinations that lead to vulnerability and those that do not. We test our method in a Pennsylvania watershed for nine ecological and water resources related streamflow indicators for which an increase in temperature between 3°C to 6 °C and change in precipitation between -17% and 19% is projected. Our approach provides several new insights, for example we show that even small decreases in precipitation (~5%) combined with temperature increases greater than 2.5ºC can push the mean annual runoff into a slightly vulnerable regime. Using this impact and stakeholder driven strategy, we explore the decision-relevant space more fully and provide information to the decision maker even if climate change projections are ambiguous.Water Resources Research. 04/2014;
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ABSTRACT: The June 2013 flood in the Upper Danube Basin was one of the largest floods in the past two centuries. An atmospheric blocking situation produced precipitation exceeding 300 mm over four days at the northern rim of the Alps. The high precipitation, along with high antecedent soil moisture, gave rise to extreme flood discharges in a number of tributaries including the Tiroler Ache, Saalach, Salzach and Inn. Runoff coefficients ranged from 0.2 in the Bavar-ian lowlands to 0.6 in the Alpine areas in Austria. Snow-fall at high altitudes (above about 1600 m a.s.l.) reduced the runoff volume produced. Precipitation was distributed over two blocks separated by a few hours, which resulted in a single peak, long-duration flood wave at the Inn and Danube. At the confluence of the Bavarian Danube and the Inn, the small time lag between the two flood waves exacerbated the downstream flood at the Danube. Because of the long dura-tion and less inundation, there was less flood peak attenu-ation along the Austrian Danube reach than for the August 2002 flood. Maximum flood discharges of the Danube at Vienna were about 11 000 m 3 s^−1 , as compared to 10 300, 9600 and 10 500 m 3 s^−1 in 2002, 1954 and 1899, respectively. This paper reviews the meteorological and hydrological charac-teristics of the event as compared to the 2002, 1954 and 1899 floods, and discusses the implications for hydrological research and flood risk management.Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 12/2013; 17:5197-5212. · 3.59 Impact Factor