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Evaluating the use of 'goodness-of-fit' measures in hydrologic and hydroclimatic model validation

Water Resources Research

By:
and
DOI: 10.1029/1998WR900018

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Abstract

Correlation and correlation-based measures (e.g., the coefficient of determination) have been widely used to evaluate the 'goodness-of-fit' of hydrologic and hydroclimatic models. These measures are oversensitive to extreme values (outliers) and are insensitive to additive and proportional differences between model predictions and observations. Because of these limitations, correlation-based measures can indicate that a model is a good predictor, even when it is not. In this paper, useful alternative goodness-of-fit or relative error measures (including the coefficient of efficiency and the index of agreement) that overcome many of the limitations of correlation-based measures are discussed. Modifications to these statistics to aid in interpretation are presented. It is concluded that correlation and correlation-based measures should not be used to assess the goodness-of-fit of a hydrologic or hydroclimatic model and that additional evaluation measures (such as summary statistics and absolute error measures) should supplement model evaluation tools.Correlation and correlation-based measures (e.g., the coefficient of determination) have been widely used to evaluate the `goodness-of-fit' of hydrologic and hydroclimatic models. These measures are oversensitive to extreme values (outliers) and are insensitive to additive and proportional differences between model predictions and observations. Because of these limitations, correlation-based measures can indicate that a model is a good predictor, even when it is not. In this paper, useful alternative goodness-of-fit or relative error measures (including the coefficient of efficiency and the index of agreement) that overcome many of the limitations of correlation-based measures are discussed. Modifications to these statistics to aid in interpretation are presented. It is concluded that correlation and correlation-based measures should not be used to assess the goodness-of-fit of a hydrologic or hydroclimatic model and that additional evaluation measures (such as summary statistics and absolute error measures) should supplement model evaluation tools.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Evaluating the use of 'goodness-of-fit' measures in hydrologic and hydroclimatic model validation
Series title:
Water Resources Research
DOI:
10.1029/1998WR900018
Volume
35
Issue:
1
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Publisher location:
Washington, DC, United States
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Water Resources Research
First page:
233
Last page:
241