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Water Resources Research

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Hydrologic models, Watersheds, Algorithms, Models & modelmaking


The transferability of conceptual hydrologic models in time is often limited by both their structural deficiencies and adopted parameterizations. Adopting a stationary set of model parameters ignores biases introduced by the data used to derive them, as well as any future changes to catchment conditions. Although time invariance of model parameters is one of the hallmarks of a high quality hydrologic model, very few (if any) models can achieve this due to their inherent limitations. It is therefore proposed to consider parameters as potentially time varying quantities, which can evolve according to signals in hydrologic observations. In this paper, we investigate the potential for Data Assimilation (DA) to detect known temporal patterns in model parameters from streamflow observations. It is shown that the success of the DA algorithm is strongly dependent on the method used to generate background (or prior) parameter ensembles (also referred to as the parameter evolution model). A range of traditional parameter evolution techniques are considered and found to be problematic when multiple parameters with complex time variations are estimated simultaneously. Two alternative methods are proposed, the first is a Multilayer approach that uses the EnKF to estimate hyperparameters of the temporal structure, based on apriori knowledge of the form of nonstationarity. The second is a Locally Linear approach that uses local linear estimation and requires no assumptions of the form of parameter nonstationarity. Both are shown to provide superior results in a range of synthetic case studies, when compared to traditional parameter evolution techniques.


Copyright 2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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