Quantifying uncertainty in simulated streamflow and runoff from a continental-scale monthly water balance model

Advances in Water Resources
By: , and 

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Abstract

One important component of continental-scale hydrologic modeling is quantifying the level of uncertainty in long-term hydrologic simulations and providing a range of possible simulated streamflow and/or runoff values for gaged and ungaged locations. In this paper, uncertainty was quantified for simulated streamflow and runoff generated from a monthly water balance model (MWBM) at 1575 streamgages and 109,951 hydrologic response units (HRUs), which span the conterminous United States (CONUS). A stochastic-approach, which incorporated the properties of modeled streamflow residuals back into the simulated model output, was used to create time series of upper and lower uncertainty intervals (UIs) around the simulated monthly time series. This approach was applied to an existing hydrologic regionalization implementation. Metrics used to evaluate the UIs across the CONUS (the coverage ratio, average width index, and interval skill score) indicated that on average the UIs were reliable, skillful, and sharp in being able to both contain measured streamflow observations and reduce estimates of uncertainty based on expected model predictions. These uncertainty evaluation metrics can complement each other in characterizing model skill and uncertainty over large-scale domains.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Quantifying uncertainty in simulated streamflow and runoff from a continental-scale monthly water balance model
Series title Advances in Water Resources
DOI 10.1016/j.advwatres.2018.10.005
Volume 122
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Colorado Water Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 166
Last page 175