On the deterministic and stochastic use of hydrologic models

Water Resources Research
By:  and 

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Abstract

Environmental simulation models, such as precipitation-runoff watershed models, are increasingly used in a deterministic manner for environmental and water resources design, planning, and management. In operational hydrology, simulated responses are now routinely used to plan, design, and manage a very wide class of water resource systems. However, all such models are calibrated to existing data sets and retain some residual error. This residual, typically unknown in practice, is often ignored, implicitly trusting simulated responses as if they are deterministic quantities. In general, ignoring the residuals will result in simulated responses with distributional properties that do not mimic those of the observed responses. This discrepancy has major implications for the operational use of environmental simulation models as is shown here. Both a simple linear model and a distributed-parameter precipitation-runoff model are used to document the expected bias in the distributional properties of simulated responses when the residuals are ignored. The systematic reintroduction of residuals into simulated responses in a manner that produces stochastic output is shown to improve the distributional properties of the simulated responses. Every effort should be made to understand the distributional behavior of simulation residuals and to use environmental simulation models in a stochastic manner.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title On the deterministic and stochastic use of hydrologic models
Series title Water Resources Research
DOI 10.1002/2016WR019129
Volume 52
Issue 7
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Central Branch
Description 15 p.
First page 5619
Last page 5633
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N