Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
09 Oct 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Combining satellite data and appropriate objective functions for improved spatial pattern performance of a distributed hydrologic model
Mehmet C. Demirel1, Juliane Mai2,4, Gorka Mendiguren1, Julian Koch1,3, Luis Samaniego2, and Simon Stisen1 1Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 Copenhagen, Denmark
2Department Computational Hydrosystems, UFZ—Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig
3Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
4Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
Abstract. Satellite based earth observations offer great opportunities to improve spatial model predictions by means of spatial pattern oriented model evaluations. In this study, observed spatial patterns of actual evapotranspiration (AET) are utilized for spatial model calibration tailored to target the pattern performance of the model. The proposed calibration framework combines temporally aggregated observed spatial patterns with a new spatial performance metric and a flexible spatial parameterisation scheme. The mesoscale Hydrologic Model (mHM) is used to simulate streamflow and AET and has been selected due to its soil parameter distribution approach based on pedotransfer functions and the build in multiscale parameter regionalization. In addition two new domain specific spatial parameter distribution options have been incorporated in the model in order to increase the flexibility of root fraction coefficient and potential evapotranspiration correction parameterisations, based on soil type and vegetation density. These parametrisations are utilized as they are most relevant for simulated AET patterns from the hydrologic model. Due to the fundamental challenges encountered when evaluating spatial pattern performance using standard metrics, we developed a simple but highly discriminative spatial metric i.e. comprised of three easily interpretable components measuring co-location, variation and distribution of the spatial data.

The study shows that with flexible spatial model parameterisation used in combination with the appropriate objective functions, the simulated spatial patterns of actual evapotranspiration become substantially more similar to the satellite based estimates. Overall 26 parameters are identified for calibration through a sequential screening approach based on a combination of streamflow and spatial pattern metrics. The robustness of the calibrations is tested using an ensemble of nine calibrations based on different seed numbers using the shuffled complex evolution optimizer. The calibration results reveal a limited trade-offs between streamflow dynamics and spatial patterns illustrating the benefit of combining separate observation types and objective functions. At the same time, the simulated spatial patterns of AET significantly improved when including an objective function based on observed AET patterns and a novel spatial performance metric compared to traditional streamflow only calibration. Since the overall water balance is usually a crucial goal in the hydrologic modelling, spatial pattern oriented optimization should always be accompanied by traditional discharge measurements. In such a multi-objective framework, the current study promotes the use of a novel bias-insensitive spatial pattern metric, which exploits the key information contained in the observed patterns while allowing the water balance to be informed by discharge observations.

Citation: Demirel, M. C., Mai, J., Mendiguren, G., Koch, J., Samaniego, L., and Stisen, S.: Combining satellite data and appropriate objective functions for improved spatial pattern performance of a distributed hydrologic model, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Mehmet C. Demirel et al.
Mehmet C. Demirel et al.
Mehmet C. Demirel et al.


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