Title: Semi-Distributed Parameter Optimization and Uncertainty Assessment for Large-Scale Streamflow Simulation Using Global Optimization
Authors: FEYEN LUCKALAS MILANVRUGT JASPER A.
Citation: HYDROLOGICAL SCIENCES JOURNAL-JOURNAL DES SCIENCES HYDROLOGIQUES vol. 53 no. 2 p. 293-308
Publisher: IAHS PRESS
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC34360
ISSN: 0262-6667
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC34360
Type: Articles in Journals
Abstract: In catchments characterized by spatially varying hydrological processes and responses, the optimal parameter values or regions of attraction in parameter space may differ with location specific characteristics and dominating processes. This paper evaluates the value of semi-distributed calibration parameters for large-scale streamflow simulation using the LISFLOOD model. The model is driven by meteorological input data and simulates river discharges in large drainage basins as a function of spatial information on topography, soils and land cover. Even though LISFLOOD is physically based to a certain extent, some processes are only represented in a lumped conceptual way. As a result, some parameters lack physical basis and cannot be directly inferred from quantities that can be measured. We employ the Shuffled Complex Evolution Metropolis (SCEM-UA) global optimization algorithm to infer the calibration parameters using daily discharge observations. The resulting posterior parameter distribution reflects the uncertainty about the model parameters and forms the basis for making probabilistic flow predictions. We assess the value of semi-distributing the calibration parameters by comparing three different calibration strategies. In the first calibration strategy uniform values over the entire area of interest are adopted for the unknown parameters, which are calibrated against discharge observations at the downstream outlet of the catchment. In the second calibration strategy the parameters are also uniformly distributed, but they are calibrated against the discharge at the catchment outlet and at internal discharge stations. In the third strategy a semi-distributed approach is adopted. Starting from upstream, parameters in each subcatchment are calibrated against the observed discharges at the outlet of the subcatchment. In order not to propagate upstream errors in the calibration process, observed discharges at upstream catchment outlets are used as inflow when calibrating downstream subcatchments. As an illustrative example, we demonstrate the methodology for a part of the Morava catchment, covering an area of approximately 10,000 km2. The calibration results reveal that the additional value of the internal discharge stations is limited when applying a lumped parameter approach. Moving from a lumped to a semi-distributed parameter approach (i) improves the accuracy of the flow predictions, especially in the upstream subcatchments; and (ii) reduces flow prediction uncertainty. The results show the clear need to distribute the calibration parameters, especially in large catchments characterized by spatially varying hydrological processes and responses.
JRC Institute:Institute for Environment and Sustainability

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