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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-407
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-407
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 20 Aug 2018

Research article | 20 Aug 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Evaluating seasonal hydrological extremes in mesoscale (pre-)Alpine basins at coarse 0.5° and fine hyperresolution

Joost Buitink, Remko Uijlenhoet, and Adriaan J. Teuling Joost Buitink et al.
  • Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Abstract. In this study, we investigate the effect of model resolution on the simulated hydrological response in five mesoscale basins in the Swiss Alps using the distributed hydrological model Spatial Processes in Hydrology (SPHY). Model simulations are performed at resolutions matching regional scale (500×500m, also matching hyperresolution) and global scale modeling (40×40km, matching a 0.5×0.5° pixel). The simulated response is investigated for four seasonal extremes, selected based on temperature and precipitation anomalies. Results from the high resolution model show that the intra-basin response covers a large range of anomalies, often with contrasting anomaly signs. The intra-basin response was grouped by land cover, where different dominant runoff generating processes are driving the differences between these groups. The low resolution model failed to capture the diverse and contrasting response from the high resolution model, since both the complex topography and land cover classes were not properly represented. We show that the hydrological response simulated with a high resolution model can be a lot more extreme than a low resolution model might indicate, which has important implications for global assessments carried out at their typical 0.5×0.5° resolution.

Joost Buitink et al.
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Joost Buitink et al.
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Short summary
This study describes how the spatial resolution of hydrological models affects the model results. The high resolution model allowed for more spatial variability than the low resolution model. As a result, the low resolution model failed to capture most variability that was simulated with the high resolution model. This has implications for the interpretation of results carried out at coarse resolutions, as they may fail to represent the local small scale variability.
This study describes how the spatial resolution of hydrological models affects the model...
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