Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2016-664
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
16 Feb 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Improving SWAT model performance in the Upper Blue Nile River Basin using meteorological data integration and catchment scaling
Erwin Isaac Polanco1, Amr Fleifle1,2, Ralf Ludwig3, and Markus Disse1 1Chair of Hydrology and River Basin Management, Faculty of Civil, Geo and Environmental Engineering, Technische Universität München, Arcisstrasse 21, 80333, Munich, Germany
2Irrigation Engineering and Hydraulics Department, Faculty of Engineering, Alexandria University, El-Horia St., 21544, Alexandria, Egypt
3Chair of Geography and Geographic Remote Sensing, Faculty of Geography, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Luisenstrasse 37, 80333, Munich, Germany
Abstract. The Upper Blue Nile River Basin is confronted by land degradation problems, insufficient agricultural production, and limited number of developed energy sources. Process-based hydrological models provide useful tools to better understand such complex systems and improve water resources and land management practices. In this study, SWAT was used to model the hydrological processes in the Upper Blue Nile River Basin. The calibration was done in such a way that the parameterization had a realistic representation of the interaction of land cover and soils properties. Comparisons between a Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) and a ground weather dataset were done under two subbasin discretizations (30 and 87 subbasins) to create an integrated dataset to improve the spatial and temporal limitations of both datsets. A SWAT Error Index (SEI) was also proposed to compare the reliability of the models under different discretization levels and weather datasets. This index offers an assessment of the model quality based on precipitation and evapotranspiration. SEI demonstrates to be a reliable and useful method to measure the level of error of SWAT and develop better models. The results showed the discrepancies of using different weather datasets with different levels of subbasin discretization. Datasets under 30 subbasins achieved Nash-Sutcliff (NS) values of 0.15, 0.68 and 0.82; while models under 87 subbasins achieved values of 0.05, 0.61, and 0.84, for the CFSR, ground and integrated datasets, respectively. Based on the parameterization, the integrated dataset provided more reliable results and a more realistic representation of the land use and soil conditions of this region.

Citation: Polanco, E. I., Fleifle, A., Ludwig, R., and Disse, M.: Improving SWAT model performance in the Upper Blue Nile River Basin using meteorological data integration and catchment scaling, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-664, in review, 2017.
Erwin Isaac Polanco et al.
Erwin Isaac Polanco et al.
Erwin Isaac Polanco et al.

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