Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

The value of multiple data set calibration versus model complexity for improving the performance of hydrological models in mountain catchments


Finger, David; Vis, Marc J P; Huss, Matthias; Seibert, Jan (2015). The value of multiple data set calibration versus model complexity for improving the performance of hydrological models in mountain catchments. Water Resources Research, 51(4):1939-1958.

Abstract

The assessment of snow, glacier, and rainfall runoff contribution to discharge in mountain streams is of major importance for an adequate water resource management. Such contributions can be estimated via hydrological models, provided that the modeling adequately accounts for snow and glacier melt, as well as rainfall runoff. We present a multiple data set calibration approach to estimate runoff composition using hydrological models with three levels of complexity. For this purpose, the code of the conceptual runoff model HBV-light was enhanced to allow calibration and validation of simulations against glacier mass balances, satellite-derived snow cover area and measured discharge. Three levels of complexity of the model were applied to glacierized catchments in Switzerland, ranging from 39 to 103 km2. The results indicate that all three observational data sets are reproduced adequately by the model, allowing an accurate estimation of the runoff composition in the three mountain streams. However, calibration against only runoff leads to unrealistic snow and glacier melt rates. Based on these results, we recommend using all three observational data sets in order to constrain model parameters and compute snow, glacier, and rain contributions. Finally, based on the comparison of model performance of different complexities, we postulate that the availability and use of different data sets to calibrate hydrological models might be more important than model complexity to achieve realistic estimations of runoff composition.

Abstract

The assessment of snow, glacier, and rainfall runoff contribution to discharge in mountain streams is of major importance for an adequate water resource management. Such contributions can be estimated via hydrological models, provided that the modeling adequately accounts for snow and glacier melt, as well as rainfall runoff. We present a multiple data set calibration approach to estimate runoff composition using hydrological models with three levels of complexity. For this purpose, the code of the conceptual runoff model HBV-light was enhanced to allow calibration and validation of simulations against glacier mass balances, satellite-derived snow cover area and measured discharge. Three levels of complexity of the model were applied to glacierized catchments in Switzerland, ranging from 39 to 103 km2. The results indicate that all three observational data sets are reproduced adequately by the model, allowing an accurate estimation of the runoff composition in the three mountain streams. However, calibration against only runoff leads to unrealistic snow and glacier melt rates. Based on these results, we recommend using all three observational data sets in order to constrain model parameters and compute snow, glacier, and rain contributions. Finally, based on the comparison of model performance of different complexities, we postulate that the availability and use of different data sets to calibrate hydrological models might be more important than model complexity to achieve realistic estimations of runoff composition.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
100 citations in Web of Science®
102 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

126 downloads since deposited on 09 Sep 2015
24 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Water Science and Technology
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:09 Sep 2015 12:51
Last Modified:14 Jul 2024 01:35
Publisher:American Geophysical Union
ISSN:0043-1397
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/2014WR015712
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English