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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-2019-67
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-67
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Mar 2019

Research article | 08 Mar 2019

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

Calibration event selection for green urban drainage modelling

Ico Broekhuizen, Günther Leonhardt, Jiri Marsalek, and Maria Viklander Ico Broekhuizen et al.
  • Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Urban Water Engineering, Luleå, Sweden

Abstract. Calibration of urban drainage models is typically performed based on a limited number of observed rainfall-runoff events, which may be selected from a longer time-series of measurements in different ways. In this study, 14 single- and two-stage strategies for selecting these events were tested for calibration of a SWMM model of a predominantly green urban area. The event selection was considered in relation to other sources of uncertainty such as measurement uncertainties, objective functions, and catchment discretization. Even though all 14 strategies resulted in successful model calibration, the difference between the best and worst strategies reached 0.2 in Nash–Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) and the calibrated parameter values notably varied. Most, but not all, calibration strategies were robust to changes in objective function, perturbations in calibration data and the use of a low spatial resolution model in the calibration phase. The various calibration strategies satisfactorily predicted 7 to 13 out of 19 validation events. The two-stage strategies performed better than the single-stage strategies when measuring performance using the Root Mean Square Error, flow volume error or peak flow error (but not using NSE); when flow data in the calibration period had been perturbed by ±40 %; and when using a lower model resolution. The two calibration strategies that performed best in the validation period were two-stage strategies. The findings in this paper show that different strategies for selecting calibration events may lead in some cases to different results for the validation period, and that calibrating impermeable and green area parameters in two separate steps may improve model performance in the validation period, while also reducing the computational demand in the calibration phase.

Ico Broekhuizen et al.
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Ico Broekhuizen et al.
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Latest update: 21 May 2019
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Short summary
Urban drainage models are usually calibrated using a few events so that they accurately represent a real world site. This paper compares 14 single- and two-stage strategies for selecting these events and found significant variation between them in terms of model performance and the obtained values of model parameters. Calibrating parameters for green and impermeable areas in two separate steps improved model performance in the validation period while making calibration easier and faster.
Urban drainage models are usually calibrated using a few events so that they accurately...
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