Event selection and two-stage approach for calibrating models of green urban drainage systems

Broekhuizen, Ico; Leonhardt, Günther; Marsalek, Jiri; Viklander, Maria

The calibration of urban drainage models is typically performed based on a limited number of observed rainfall–runoff events, which may be selected from a larger dataset in different ways. In this study, 14 single- and two-stage strategies for selecting the calibration events were tested in calibration of a high- and low-resolution Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) of a predominantly green urban area. The two-stage strategies used events with runoff only from impervious areas to calibrate the associated parameters, prior to using larger events to calibrate the parameters relating to green areas. Even though all 14 strategies resulted in successful model calibration (Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency; NSE inline-formula>0.5), the difference between the best and worst strategies reached 0.2 in the NSE, and the calibrated parameter values notably varied. The various calibration strategies satisfactorily predicted 7 to 13 out of 19 validation events. The two-stage strategies reproduced more validation events poorly (NSE inline-formula<0) than the single-stage strategies, but they also reproduced more events well (NSE inline-formula>0.5) and performed better than the single-stage strategies in terms of total runoff volume and peak flow rates, particularly when using a low spatial model resolution. The results show that various strategies for selecting calibration events may lead in some cases to different results in the validation phase and that calibrating impervious and green-area parameters in two separate steps in two-stage strategies may increase the effectiveness of model calibration and validation by reducing the computational demand in the calibration phase and improving model performance in the validation phase.

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Broekhuizen, Ico / Leonhardt, Günther / Marsalek, Jiri / et al: Event selection and two-stage approach for calibrating models of green urban drainage systems. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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