Application of numerical models is a common practice in the environmental field for investigation and prediction of natural and anthropogenic processes. However, process knowledge, parameter identifiability, sensitivity, and uncertainty analyses are still a challenge for large and complex mathematical models such as the hydrological/water quality model, Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). In this study, the previously developed R program language-SWAT-Flexible Modeling Environment (R-SWAT-FME) was improved to support multiple model variables and objectives at multiple time steps (i.e., daily, monthly, and annually). This expansion is significant because there is usually more than one variable (e.g., water, nutrients, and pesticides) of interest for environmental models like SWAT. To further facilitate its easy use, we also simplified its application requirements without compromising its merits, such as the user-friendly interface. To evaluate the performance of the improved framework, we used a case study focusing on both streamflow and nitrate nitrogen in the Upper Iowa River Basin (above Marengo) in the United States. Results indicated that the R-SWAT-FME performs well and is comparable to the built-in auto-calibration tool in multi-objective model calibration. Overall, the enhanced R-SWAT-FME can be useful for the SWAT community, and the methods we used can also be valuable for wrapping potential R packages with other environmental models.
Additional publication details
Improvement of the R-SWAT-FME framework to support multiple variables and multi-objective functions
Science of the Total Environment
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center