Benchmarking an operational hydrological model for providing seasonal forecasts in Sweden

Girons Lopez, Marc; Crochemore, Louise; Pechlivanidis, Ilias G.

Probabilistic seasonal forecasts are important for many water-intensive activities requiring long-term planning. Among the different techniques used for seasonal forecasting, the ensemble streamflow prediction (ESP) approach has long been employed due to the singular dependence on past meteorological records. The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute is currently extending the use of long-range forecasts within its operational warning service, which requires a thorough analysis of the suitability and applicability of different methods with the national S-HYPE hydrological model. To this end, we aim to evaluate the skill of ESP forecasts over 39 493 catchments in Sweden, understand their spatio-temporal patterns, and explore the main hydrological processes driving forecast skill. We found that ESP forecasts are generally skilful for most of the country up to 3 months into the future but that large spatio-temporal variations exist. Forecasts are most skilful during the winter months in northern Sweden, except for the highly regulated hydropower-producing rivers. The relationships between forecast skill and 15 different hydrological signatures show that forecasts are most skilful for slow-reacting, baseflow-dominated catchments and least skilful for flashy catchments. Finally, we show that forecast skill patterns can be spatially clustered in seven unique regions with similar hydrological behaviour. Overall, these results contribute to identifying in which areas and seasons and how long into the future ESP hydrological forecasts provide an added value, not only for the national forecasting and warning service, but also, most importantly, for guiding decision-making in critical services such as hydropower management and risk reduction.



Girons Lopez, Marc / Crochemore, Louise / Pechlivanidis, Ilias G.: Benchmarking an operational hydrological model for providing seasonal forecasts in Sweden. 2021. Copernicus Publications.


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Rechteinhaber: Marc Girons Lopez et al.

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