Multi-site calibration and validation of SWAT with satellite-based evapotranspiration in a data-sparse catchment in southwestern Nigeria

Odusanya, Abolanle E.; Mehdi, Bano; Schürz, Christoph; Oke, Adebayo O.; Awokola, Olufiropo S.; Awomeso, Julius A.; Adejuwon, Joseph O.; Schulz, Karsten

The main objective of this study was to calibrate and validate the eco-hydrological model Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) with satellite-based actual evapotranspiration (AET) data from the Global Land Evaporation Amsterdam Model (GLEAM_v3.0a) and from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer Global Evaporation (MOD16) for the Ogun River Basin (20 292 km2) located in southwestern Nigeria. Three potential evapotranspiration (PET) equations (Hargreaves, Priestley–Taylor and Penman–Monteith) were used for the SWAT simulation of AET. The reference simulations were the three AET variables simulated with SWAT before model calibration took place. The sequential uncertainty fitting technique (SUFI-2) was used for the SWAT model sensitivity analysis, calibration, validation and uncertainty analysis. The GLEAM_v3.0a and MOD16 products were subsequently used to calibrate the three SWAT-simulated AET variables, thereby obtaining six calibrations–validations at a monthly timescale. The model performance for the three SWAT model runs was evaluated for each of the 53 subbasins against the GLEAM_v3.0a and MOD16 products, which enabled the best model run with the highest-performing satellite-based AET product to be chosen. A verification of the simulated AET variable was carried out by (i) comparing the simulated AET of the calibrated model to GLEAM_v3.0b AET, which is a product that has different forcing data than the version of GLEAM used for the calibration, and (ii) assessing the long-term average annual and average monthly water balances at the outlet of the watershed. Overall, the SWAT model, composed of the Hargreaves PET equation and calibrated using the GLEAM_v3.0a data (GS1), performed well for the simulation of AET and provided a good level of confidence for using the SWAT model as a decision support tool. The 95 % uncertainty of the SWAT-simulated variable bracketed most of the satellite-based AET data in each subbasin. A validation of the simulated soil moisture dynamics for GS1 was carried out using satellite-retrieved soil moisture data, which revealed good agreement. The SWAT model (GS1) also captured the seasonal variability of the water balance components at the outlet of the watershed.

This study demonstrated the potential to use remotely sensed evapotranspiration data for hydrological model calibration and validation in a sparsely gauged large river basin with reasonable accuracy. The novelty of the study is the use of these freely available satellite-derived AET datasets to effectively calibrate and validate an eco-hydrological model for a data-scarce catchment.

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Zitierform:

Odusanya, Abolanle E. / Mehdi, Bano / Schürz, Christoph / et al: Multi-site calibration and validation of SWAT with satellite-based evapotranspiration in a data-sparse catchment in southwestern Nigeria. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Abolanle E. Odusanya et al.

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