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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-2019-301
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-301
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 20 Jun 2019

Research article | 20 Jun 2019

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

Dynamics of hydrological model parameters: calibration and reliability

Tian Lan1, Kairong Lin1,2,3, Xuezhi Tan1,2,3, Chong-Yu Xu4, and Xiaohong Chen1,2,3 Tian Lan et al.
  • 1Center for Water Resources and Environment, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510275, China
  • 2Guangdong Engineering Technology Research Center of Water Security Regulation and Control for Southern China, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • 3School of Civil Engineering, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510275, China
  • 4Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1047, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway

Abstract. It has been demonstrated that the dynamics of hydrological model parameters based on dynamic catchment behavior significantly improves the accuracy and robustness of conventional models. However, the calibration for the dynamization of parameter set involves critical components of hydrological models, including parameters, objective functions, state variables, and fluxes, which usually are ignored. Hence, it is essential to design a reliable calibration scheme regarding these components. In this study, we compared and evaluate five calibration schemes with respect to multi-metric evaluation, dynamized parameter values, fluxes, and state variables. Furthermore, a simple and effective tool was designed to assess the reliability of the dynamized parameter set. The tool evaluates the convergence processes for global optimization algorithms using violin plots (ECP-VP), effectively describes the convergence behaviour in individual parameter spaces. The different types of violin plots can well match to all possible properties of fitness landscapes. The results showed that the reasons for poor model performance included time-invariant parameters oversimplifying the dynamic response modes of the model, the high-dimensionality disaster of parameters, the abrupt shifts of the parameter set, and the complicated correlations among parameters. The proposed calibration scheme overcome these issues, characterized the dynamic behaviour of catchments, and improved the model performance. Additionally, the designed ECP-VP tool effectively assessed the reliability of the dynamic parameter set, providing an indication on recognizing the dominant response modes of hydrological models in different sub-periods or catchments with the distinguishing catchment characteristics.

Tian Lan et al.
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Short summary
A calibration scheme was developed for the dynamics of hydrological model parameters. Furthermore, a novel tool was designed to assess the reliability of the dynamized parameter set. The tool evaluates the convergence processes for global optimization algorithms using violin plots (ECP-VP). The results showed that the developed calibration scheme overcame the salient issues for poor model performance. Besides, the ECP-VP tool effectively assessed the reliability of the dynamic parameter set.
A calibration scheme was developed for the dynamics of hydrological model parameters....
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