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null (Ed.)Precipitation occurs in two basic forms defined as liquid state and solid state. Different from rain-fed watershed, modeling snow processes is of vital importance in snow-dominated watersheds. The seasonal snowpack is a natural water reservoir, which stores snow water in winter and releases it in spring and summer. The warmer climate in recent decades has led to earlier snowmelt, a decline in snowpack, and change in the seasonality of river flows. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) could be applied in the snow-influenced watershed because of its ability to simultaneously predict the streamflow generated from rainfall and from the melting of snow. The choice of parameters, reference data, and calibration strategy could significantly affect the SWAT model calibration outcome and further affect the prediction accuracy. In this study, SWAT models are implemented in four upland watersheds in the Tulare Lake Basin (TLB) located across the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Three calibration scenarios considering different calibration parameters and reference datasets are applied to investigate the impact of the Parallel Energy Balance Model (ParBal) snow reconstruction data and snow parameters on the streamflow and snow water-equivalent (SWE) prediction accuracy. In addition, the watershed parameters and lapse rate parameters-led equifinality is also evaluated. The results indicate that calibration of the SWAT model with respect to both streamflow and SWE reference data could improve the model SWE prediction reliability in general. Comparatively, the streamflow predictions are not significantly affected by differently lumped calibration schemes. The default snow parameter values capture the extreme high flows better than the other two calibration scenarios, whereas there is no remarkable difference among the three calibration schemes for capturing the extreme low flows. The watershed and lapse rate parameters-induced equifinality affects the flow prediction more (Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) varies between 0.2–0.3) than the SWE prediction (NSE varies less than 0.1). This study points out the remote-sensing-based SWE reconstruction product as a promising alternative choice for model calibration in ungauged snow-influenced watersheds. The streamflow-reconstructed SWE bi-objective calibrated model could improve the prediction reliability of surface water supply change for the downstream agricultural region under the changing climate.more » « less
Remotely sensed hydrologic variables, in conjunction with streamflow data, have been increasingly used to conduct multivariable calibration of hydrologic model parameters. Here, we calibrated the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model using different combinations of streamflow and remotely sensed hydrologic variables, including Atmosphere–Land Exchange Inverse (ALEXI) Evapotranspiration (ET), Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) ET, and Soil MERGE (SMERGE) soil moisture. The results show that adding remotely sensed ET and soil moisture to the traditionally used streamflow for model calibration can impact the number and values of parameters sensitive to hydrologic modeling, but it does not necessarily improve the model performance. However, using remotely sensed ET or soil moisture data alone led to deterioration in model performance as compared with using streamflow only. In addition, we observed large discrepancies between ALEXI or MODIS ET data and the choice between these two datasets for model calibration can have significant implications for the performance of the SWAT model. The use of different combinations of streamflow, ET, and soil moisture data also resulted in noticeable differences in simulated hydrologic processes, such as runoff, percolation, and groundwater discharge. Finally, we compared the performance of SWAT and the SWAT-Carbon (SWAT-C) model under different multivariate calibration setups, and these two models exhibited pronounced differences in their performance in the validation period. Based on these results, we recommend (1) the assessment of various remotely sensed data (when multiple options available) for model calibration before choosing them for complementing the traditionally used streamflow data and (2) that different model structures be considered in the model calibration process to support robust hydrologic modeling.more » « less
Thenkabail, Prasad S. (Ed.)
Physically based hydrologic models require significant effort and extensive information for development, calibration, and validation. The study explored the use of the random forest regression (RFR), a supervised machine learning (ML) model, as an alternative to the physically based Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) for predicting streamflow in the Rio Grande Headwaters near Del Norte, a snowmelt-dominated mountainous watershed of the Upper Rio Grande Basin. Remotely sensed data were used for the random forest machine learning analysis (RFML) and RStudio for data processing and synthesizing. The RFML model outperformed the SWAT model in accuracy and demonstrated its capability in predicting streamflow in this region. We implemented a customized approach to the RFR model to assess the model’s performance for three training periods, across 1991–2010, 1996–2010, and 2001–2010; the results indicated that the model’s accuracy improved with longer training periods, implying that the model trained on a more extended period is better able to capture the parameters’ variability and reproduce streamflow data more accurately. The variable importance (i.e., IncNodePurity) measure of the RFML model revealed that the snow depth and the minimum temperature were consistently the top two predictors across all training periods. The paper also evaluated how well the SWAT model performs in reproducing streamflow data of the watershed with a conventional approach. The SWAT model needed more time and data to set up and calibrate, delivering acceptable performance in annual mean streamflow simulation, with satisfactory index of agreement (d), coefficient of determination (R2), and percent bias (PBIAS) values, but monthly simulation warrants further exploration and model adjustments. The study recommends exploring snowmelt runoff hydrologic processes, dust-driven sublimation effects, and more detailed topographic input parameters to update the SWAT snowmelt routine for better monthly flow estimation. The results provide a critical analysis for enhancing streamflow prediction, which is valuable for further research and water resource management, including snowmelt-driven semi-arid regions.
Climate change and energy security promote using renewable sources of energy such as biofuels. High woody biomass production achieved from short‐rotation intensive plantations is a strategy that is increasing in many parts of the world. However, broad expansion of bioenergy feedstock production may have significant environmental consequences. This study investigates the watershed‐scale hydrological impacts of
Eucalyptus( E. grandis) plantations for energy production in a humid subtropical watershed in Entre Rios province, Argentina. A Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model was calibrated and validated for streamflow, leaf area index (LAI), and biomass production cycles. The model was used to simulate various Eucalyptusplantation scenarios that followed physically based rules for land use conversion (in various extents and locations in the watershed) to study hydrological effects, biomass production, and the green water footprint of energy production. SWAT simulations indicated that the most limiting factor for plant growth was shallow soils causing seasonal water stress. This resulted in a wide range of biomass productivity throughout the watershed. An optimization algorithm was developed to find the best location for Eucalyptusdevelopment regarding highest productivity with least water impact. E. grandisplantations had higher evapotranspiration rates compared to existing terrestrial land cover classes; therefore, intensive land use conversion to E. grandiscaused a decline in streamflow, with January through March being the most affected months. October was the least‐affected month hydrologically, since high rainfall rates overcame the canopy interception and higher ET rates of E. grandisin this month. Results indicate that, on average, producing 1 kg of biomass in this region uses 0.8 m3of water, and the green water footprint of producing 1 m3fuel is approximately 2150 m3water, or 57 m3water per GJ of energy, which is lower than reported values for wood‐based ethanol, sugar cane ethanol, and soybean biodiesel.
Evaluating whether hydrological models are right for the right reasons demands reproducible model benchmarking and diagnostics that evaluate not just statistical predictive model performance but also internal processes. Such model benchmarking and diagnostic efforts will benefit from standardized methods and ready-to-use toolkits. Using the Jupyter platform, this work presents HydroBench, a model-agnostic benchmarking tool consisting of three sets of metrics: 1) common statistical predictive measures, 2) hydrological signature-based process metrics, including a new time-linked flow duration curve and 3) information-theoretic diagnostics that measure the flow of information among model variables. As a test case, HydroBench was applied to compare two model products (calibrated and uncalibrated) of the National Hydrologic Model - Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (NHM-PRMS) at the Cedar River watershed, WA, United States. Although the uncalibrated model has the highest predictive performance, particularly for high flows, the signature-based diagnostics showed that the model overestimates low flows and poorly represents the recession processes. Elucidating why low flows may have been overestimated, the information-theoretic diagnostics indicated a higher flow of information from precipitation to snowmelt to streamflow in the uncalibrated model compared to the calibrated model, where information flowed more directly from precipitation to streamflow. This test case demonstrated the capability of HydroBench in process diagnostics and model predictive and functional performance evaluations, along with their tradeoffs. Having such a model benchmarking tool not only provides modelers with a comprehensive model evaluation system but also provides an open-source tool that can further be developed by the hydrological community.