Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2017-89
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
06 Mar 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Toward seamless hydrologic predictions across scales
Luis Samaniego1, Rohini Kumar1, Stephan Thober1, Oldrich Rakovec1, Matthias Zink1, Niko Wanders2, Stephanie Eisner3,a, Hannes Müller Schmied4,5, Edwin H. Sutanudjaja6, Kirsten Warrach-Sagi7, and Sabine Attinger1 1Department of Computational Hydrosystems, UFZ-Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany
2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, USA
3Center for Environmental Systems Research, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany
4Institute of Physical Geography, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany
5Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Frankfurt, Germany
6Universiteit Utrecht, Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht, the Netherlands
7Institute of Physics and Meteorology, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany
anow at: Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Ås, Norway
Abstract. Land surface and hydrologic models (LSM/HM) are used at diverse spatial resolutions ranging from 1–10 km in catchment-scale applications to over 50 km in global-scale applications. Application of the same model structure at different spatial scales requires that the model estimates similar fluxes independent of the model resolution and fulfills a flux-matching condition across scales. An analysis of state-of-the-art LSMs and HMs reveals that most do not have consistent and realistic parameter fields for land surface geophysical properties. Multiple experiments with the mHM, Noah-MP, PCR-GLOBWB and WaterGAP models are conducted to demonstrate the pitfalls of poor parameterization practices currently used in most operational models, which are insufficient to satisfy the flux-matching condition. These examples demonstrate that J. Dooge's 1982 statement on the unsolved problem of parameterization in these models remains true. We provide a short review of existing parameter regionalization techniques and discuss a method for obtaining seamless hydrological predictions of water fluxes and states across multiple spatial resolutions. The multiscale parameter regionalization (MPR) technique is a practical and robust method that provides consistent (seamless) parameter and flux fields across scales. A general model protocol is presented to describe how MPR can be applied to a specific model, with an example of this application using the PCR-GLOBWB model. Applying MPR to PCR-GLOBWB substantially improves the flux-matching condition. Estimation of evapotranspiration without MPR at 5 arcmin and 30 arcmin spatial resolutions for the Rhine river basin results in a difference of approximately 29 %. Applying MPR reduce this difference to 9 %. For total soil water, the differences without and with MPR are 25 % and 7 %, respectively.

Citation: Samaniego, L., Kumar, R., Thober, S., Rakovec, O., Zink, M., Wanders, N., Eisner, S., Müller Schmied, H., Sutanudjaja, E. H., Warrach-Sagi, K., and Attinger, S.: Toward seamless hydrologic predictions across scales, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2017-89, in review, 2017.
Luis Samaniego et al.
Luis Samaniego et al.
Luis Samaniego et al.

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Short summary
We inspect the state-of-the-art of several land surface (LSM) and hydrologic models(HM) and show that most do not have consistent and realistic parameter fields for land surface geophysical properties. We propose to use the multiscale parameter regionalization (MPR) technique to solve, at least partly, the scaling problem in LSMs/HMs. A general model protocol is presented to describe how MPR can be applied to a specific model.
We inspect the state-of-the-art of several land surface (LSM) and hydrologic models(HM) and show...
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