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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-2018-561
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-561
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 Jan 2019

Research article | 07 Jan 2019

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).

Regionalization with Hierarchical Hydrologic Similarity and Ex-situ Data for the Estimation of Mean Annual Groundwater Recharge at Ungauged Watersheds

Ching-Fu Chang and Yoram Rubin Ching-Fu Chang and Yoram Rubin
  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Abstract. There are various methods available for annual groundwater recharge estimation using in-situ observations. However, a great number of watersheds around the world still remain ungauged, i.e., without in-situ observations of hydrologic responses. One approach for making estimates at ungauged watersheds is through regionalization, namely, transferring information obtained at gauged watersheds to ungauged ones. The reliability of regionalization depends on (1) the underlying system of hydrologic similarity, i.e., the similarity in how watersheds respond to precipitation input, as well as (2) the approach by which information is transferred.

In this paper we present a set of ready-to-use tools for obtaining informative estimates of hydrologic responses at ungauged watersheds, using a nested tree-based modeling approach to condition the estimates on ex-situ data. It invokes a two-leveled hierarchical hydrologic similarity, where the higher level determines the relative importance of various watershed characteristics under different conditions, and the lower level performs the regionalization and estimation of hydrologic responses based on the watershed characteristics of the ungauged watershed of interest.

We apply the nested tree-based modeling approach to investigate the complicated relationship between mean annual groundwater recharge and watershed characteristics, and to test the applicability and usefulness of the hierarchical hydrologic similarity. Our findings reveal the decisive role of soil available water content in hydrologic similarity at regional and annual scales, as well as certain conditions under which it is risky to resort to climate variables for determining hydrologic similarity. These findings contribute to the understanding of the physical principles governing robust information transfer.

Ching-Fu Chang and Yoram Rubin
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Ching-Fu Chang and Yoram Rubin
Ching-Fu Chang and Yoram Rubin
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