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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-492
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-492
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Technical note 11 Oct 2018

Technical note | 11 Oct 2018

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

Technical note: Analytical sensitivity analysis and uncertainty estimation of a two-component hydrograph separation method which uses conductivity as a tracer

Weifei Yang, Changlai Xiao, and Xiujuan Liang Weifei Yang et al.
  • Key Laboratory of Groundwater Resources and Environment, Ministry of Education, and National-Local Joint Engineering Laboratory of In-situ Conversion, Drilling and Exploitation Technology for Oil Shale, and College of New Energy and Environment, Jilin University, No 2519, Jiefang Road, Changchun 130021, PR China

Abstract. The conductivity two-component hydrograph separation method is cheap and easy to operate and is favored by hydrologists. This paper analyzes the sensitivity of the baseflow index (BFI, the long-term ratio of baseflow to streamflow) calculated by this method to errors or uncertainties of the two parameters (BFC, the conductivity of baseflow; ROC, the conductivity of surface runoff) and of the two variables (yk, the specific streamflow; Qck, the specific conductivity of streamflow), and then estimates the uncertainty of BFI. The analysis shows that when the time series is longer than 365 days, the random measurement errors of yk or Qck will cancel each other, and the influence on BFI can be neglected. Dimensionless sensitivity indices (the ratio of the relative error of BFI to the relative error of BFC or ROC) can well express the propagation of errors or uncertainties of BFC or ROC into BFI. Based on the sensitivity analysis, the uncertainty estimation method of BFI is derived. Representative sensitivity indices and BFI' uncertainties are yielded by application of the resulting equations to 24 watersheds in the United States. The results indicate that BFI is more sensitive to BFC, and the conductivity two-component hydrograph separation method may be more suitable for the long time series in a small watershed. After considering the mutual offset of the measurement errors of conductivity and streamflow, the uncertainty of BFI is reduced by half.

Weifei Yang et al.
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Weifei Yang et al.
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This paper analyzed the sensitivity of the baseflow index to the parameters of the conductivity two-component hydrograph separation method. The results indicated that the baseflow index is more sensitive to the conductivity of baseflow, and the separation method may be more suitable for the long time series in a small watershed. And after considering the mutual offset of the measurement errors of conductivity and streamflow, the uncertainty of baseflow index was reduced by half.
This paper analyzed the sensitivity of the baseflow index to the parameters of the conductivity...
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