On optimization of calibrations of a distributed hydrological model with spatially distributed information on snow

Tiwari, Dipti; Trudel, Mélanie; Leconte, Robert

In northern cold-temperate countries, a large portion of annual streamflow is produced by spring snowmelt, which often triggers floods. It is important to have spatial information about snow variables such as snow water equivalent (SWE), which can be incorporated into hydrological models, making them more efficient tools for improved decision-making. The present research implements a unique spatial pattern metric in a multi-objective framework for calibration of hydrological models and attempts to determine whether raw SNODAS (SNOw Data Assimilation System) data can be utilized for hydrological model calibration. The spatial efficiency (SPAEF) metric is explored for spatially calibrating SWE. Different calibration experiments are performed combining Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) for streamflow and root-mean-square error (RMSE) and SPAEF for SWE, using the Dynamically Dimensioned Search (DDS) and Pareto Archived Dynamically Dimensioned Search multi-objective optimization (PADDS) algorithms. Results of the study demonstrate that multi-objective calibration outperforms sequential calibration in terms of model performance (SWE and discharge simulations). Traditional model calibration involving only streamflow produced slightly higher NSE values; however, the spatial distribution of SWE could not be adequately maintained. This study indicates that utilizing SPAEF for spatial calibration of snow parameters improved streamflow prediction compared to the conventional practice of using RMSE for calibration. SPAEF is further implied to be a more effective metric than RMSE for both sequential and multi-objective calibration. During validation, the calibration experiment incorporating multi-objective SPAEF exhibits enhanced performance in terms of NSE and Kling–Gupta efficiency (KGE) compared to calibration experiment solely based on NSE. This observation supports the notion that incorporating SPAEF computed on raw SNODAS data within the calibration framework results in a more robust hydrological model. The novelty of this study is the implementation of SPAEF with respect to spatially distributed SWE for calibrating a distributed hydrological model.

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Tiwari, Dipti / Trudel, Mélanie / Leconte, Robert: On optimization of calibrations of a distributed hydrological model with spatially distributed information on snow. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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