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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  2. Abstract. Spatially distributed hydrological models are commonly employed to optimize the locations of engineering control measures across a watershed. Yet, parameter screening exercises that aim to reduce the dimensionality of the calibration search space are typically completed only for gauged locations, like the watershed outlet, and use screening metrics that are relevant to calibration instead of explicitly describing the engineering decision objectives. Identifying parameters that describe physical processes in ungauged locations that affect decision objectives should lead to a better understanding of control measure effectiveness. This paper provides guidance on evaluating model parameter uncertainty at the spatial scales and flow magnitudes of interest for such decision-making problems. We use global sensitivity analysis to screen parameters for model calibration, and to subsequently evaluate the appropriateness of using multipliers to adjust the values of spatially distributed parameters to further reduce dimensionality. We evaluate six sensitivity metrics, four of which align with decision objectives and two of which consider model residual error that would be considered in spatial optimizations of engineering designs. We compare the resulting parameter selection for the basin outlet and each hillslope. We also compare basin outlet results for four calibration-relevant metrics. These methods were applied to a RHESSys ecohydrological model of an exurban forested watershed near Baltimore, MD, USA. Results show that (1) the set of parameters selected by calibration-relevant metrics does not include parameters that control decision-relevant high and low streamflows, (2) evaluating sensitivity metrics at the basin outlet misses many parameters that control streamflows in hillslopes, and (3) for some multipliers, calibrating all parameters in the set being adjusted may be preferable to using the multiplier if parameter sensitivities are significantly different, while for others, calibrating a subset of the parameters may be preferable if they are not all influential. Thus, we recommend that parameter screening exercises use decision-relevant metrics that are evaluated at the spatial scales appropriate to decision making. While including more parameters in calibration will exacerbate equifinality, the resulting parametric uncertainty should be important to consider in discovering control measures that are robust to it. 
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  3. Abstract

    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to “strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty” (UNFCCC 2015). Designing a global mitigation strategy to support this goal poses formidable challenges. For one, there are trade-offs between the economic costs and the environmental benefits of averting climate impacts. Furthermore, the coupled human-Earth systems are subject to deep and dynamic uncertainties. Previous economic analyses typically addressed either the former, introducing multiple objectives, or the latter, making mitigation actions responsive to new information. This paper aims at bridging these two separate strands of literature. We demonstrate how information feedback from observed global temperature changes can jointly improve the economic and environmental performance of mitigation strategies. We focus on strategies that maximize discounted expected utility while also minimizing warming above 2 °C, damage costs, and mitigation costs. Expanding on the Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy (DICE) model and previous multi-objective efforts, we implement closed-loop control strategies, map the emerging trade-offs and quantify the value of the temperature information feedback under both well-characterized and deep climate uncertainties. Adaptive strategies strongly reduce high regrets, guarding against mitigation overspending for less sensitive climate futures, and excessive warming for more sensitive ones.

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