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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENHANCED MODELS AND CONSERVATION PRACTICES FOR WATERSHED RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND ASSESSMENT

Location: Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory

Title: Evaluating, interpreting, and communicating performance of hydrologic/water quality models considering intended use: A review and recommendations

Authors
item Harmel, Daren
item Smith, Patricia -
item Migliaccio, Katie -
item Chaubey, Indrajeet -
item Douglas-Mankin, Kyle -
item Benham, Brian -
item Shukla, Sanjay -
item Munoz-Carpena, R -
item Robson, B -

Submitted to: Environmental Modelling & Software
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 14, 2014
Publication Date: May 28, 2014
Citation: Harmel, R.D., Smith, P.K., Migliaccio, K.W., Chaubey, I., Douglas-Mankin, K.R., Benham, B., Shukla, S., Munoz-Carpena, R., Robson, B.J. 2014. Evaluating, interpreting, and communicating performance of hydrologic/water quality models considering intended use: A review and recommendations. Environmental Modelling & Software. 57:40-51.

Interpretive Summary: Previous publications have outlined recommended practices for hydrologic and water quality modeling, but none have formulated comprehensive guidelines for the final stage of modeling applications, namely evaluation, interpretation, and communication of model results and the consideration of the project purpose or model’s intended use. Such guidelines are needed to effectively evaluate and interpret model performance and more accurately communicate that performance to decision-makers and other modeling stakeholders. Thus, the “Communications” subcommittee of the ASABE Soil and Water Division Standards Development Workgroup formulated the guidelines for evaluation, interpretation and communication of H/WQ model results presented in this manuscript. The guidelines focus on interpretation and communication of model results and are presented in sequential steps. Tables to facilitate application of the guidelines to model refinement, interpretation, and proper application considering uncertainty and intended model use are also presented. These guidelines were designed to contribute to improved modeling methodology and appropriate application of models through conscientious evaluation, interpretation, and communication of model performance to decision-makers and other modeling stakeholders.

Technical Abstract: Previous publications have outlined recommended practices for hydrologic and water quality (H/WQ) modeling, but none have formulated comprehensive guidelines for the final stage of modeling applications, namely evaluation, interpretation, and communication of model results and the consideration of the project purpose or model’s intended use. Such guidelines are needed to effectively evaluate and interpret model performance and more accurately communicate that performance to decision-makers and other modeling stakeholders. Thus, the “Communications” subcommittee of the ASABE Soil and Water Division Standards Development Workgroup formulated the guidelines for evaluation, interpretation and communication of H/WQ model results presented in this manuscript. The guidelines focus on interpretation and communication of model results, not on model development or initial calibration and validation, and as such they apply to the modeling process following initial calibration and address the final stages including model refinement, evaluation, interpretation, and communication. The guidelines are presented in the following steps: 1) evaluate initial model performance, 2) evaluate outliers and extremes in observed values and bias in predicted values, 3) estimate uncertainty in calibration/validation data and predicted values, 4) re-evaluate model performance considering accuracy and precision, 5) interpret model results considering uncertainty, model performance, and intended model use, and 6) communicate model results. Tables to facilitate application of the guidelines to model refinement, interpretation, and proper application considering uncertainty and intended model use are also presented. These guidelines were designed to contribute to improved modeling methodology and appropriate application of H/WQ models through conscientious evaluation, interpretation, and communication of model performance to decision-makers and other modeling stakeholders.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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