Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2016-508
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
01 Nov 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
A Hydrological Prediction System Based on the SVS Land–Surface Scheme: Implementation and Evaluation of the GEM-Hydro platform on the watershed of Lake Ontario
Étienne Gaborit1, Vincent Fortin1, Xiaoyong Xu2, Frank Seglenieks3, Bryan Tolson2, Lauren M. Fry4, Tim Hunter5, François Anctil6, and Andrew D. Gronewold5 1Environment Canada, Environmental Numerical Prediction Research (E-NPR), Dorval , H9P1J3, Canada
2University of Waterloo, Civil and Environmental Engineering Dpt., Waterloo, N2L3G1, Canada
3Environment Canada, Boundary Water Issues, Burlington, L7S1A1, Canada
4U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office, Detroit, 48226, U.S.A.
5NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), Ann Arbor, 48108, U.S.A.
6Civil and Water Engineering department, Université Laval, Québec, G1V0A6, Canada
Abstract. This work describes the implementation of the distributed GEM-Hydro runoff modeling platform, developed at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) over the last decade. The latest version of GEM-Hydro combines the SVS (Soil, Vegetation and Snow) land-surface scheme and the WATROUTE routing scheme in order to provide streamflow predictions on a gridded river network. SVS is designed to be two-way coupled to the GEM (Global Environmental Multi-scale) atmospheric model exploited by ECCC for operational weather and environmental forecasting. Although SVS has been shown to accurately track soil moisture during the warm season, it has never been evaluated before for hydrological prediction. This paper presents a first evaluation of its ability to simulate streamflow for all major rivers flowing into Lake Ontario. The skill level of GEM-Hydro is assessed by comparing the quality of simulated flows to that of two established hydrological models, MESH and WATFLOOD, which share the same routing scheme (WATROUTE) but rely on different land–surface schemes. All models are calibrated using the same meteorological forcings, objective function, calibration algorithm, and watershed delineation. Results show that GEM-Hydro performs well and is competitive with MESH and WATFLOOD. A computationally efficient strategy is proposed to calibrate the land-surface model of GEM-Hydro: a simple unit hydrograph is used for routing instead of its standard distributed routing component. The distributed routing part of the model can then be run in a second step to estimate streamflow everywhere inside the domain. Global and local calibration strategies are compared in order to estimate runoff for ungauged portions of the Lake Ontario watershed. Overall, streamflow predictions obtained using a global calibration strategy, in which a single parameter set is identified for the whole watershed of Lake Ontario, show skills comparable to the predictions based on local calibration. Hence, global calibration provides spatially consistent parameter values, robust performance at gauged locations, and reduces the complexity and computational burden of the calibration procedure. This work contributes to the Great Lakes Runoff Inter-comparison Project for Lake Ontario (GRIP-O) which aims at improving Lake Ontario basin runoff simulations by comparing different models using the same input forcings.

Citation: Gaborit, É., Fortin, V., Xu, X., Seglenieks, F., Tolson, B., Fry, L. M., Hunter, T., Anctil, F., and Gronewold, A. D.: A Hydrological Prediction System Based on the SVS Land–Surface Scheme: Implementation and Evaluation of the GEM-Hydro platform on the watershed of Lake Ontario, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-508, in review, 2016.
Étienne Gaborit et al.
Étienne Gaborit et al.
Étienne Gaborit et al.

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Short summary
The work presents an original methodology for optimizing streamflow simulations with the distributed hydrological model GEM-Hydro. While minimizing the computational time required for automatic calibration, the approach allows to end up with a spatially coherent and transferable parameter set. The GEM-Hydro model is useful because it allows to simulate all physical components of the hydrological cycle in every part of a domain. It reveals competitive against other distributed models.
The work presents an original methodology for optimizing streamflow simulations with the...
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