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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT OF MODELS AND CONSERVATION PRACTICES FOR WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT AND RESOURCE ASSESSMENTS Title: Swat Check: a Screening Tool to Assist Users in the Identification of Potential Model Application Problems

Authors
item White, Michael
item Harmel, Daren
item Arnold, Jeffrey
item Williams, Jimmy -

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 19, 2012
Publication Date: December 12, 2012
Citation: White, M.J., Harmel, R.D., Arnold, J.G., Williams, J.R. 2012. SWAT Check: A screening tool to assist users in the identification of potential model application problems. Journal of Environmental Quality. doi:10.2134/jeq2012.0039.

Interpretive Summary: The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is a basin scale hydrologic model developed by the US Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service. SWAT's broad applicability, user friendly model interfaces, and automatic calibration software have led to a rapid increase in the number of new users. The objective of this research was to develop a program to assist new users in the identification of potential model application problems. SWAT Check was developed to read SWAT output and alert users of potential problems, and help users visualize critical aspects of the model. By alerting users to potential model application problems, this software should assist the SWAT community in developing more reliable modeling applications.

Technical Abstract: The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is a basin scale hydrologic model developed by the US Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service. SWAT's broad applicability, user friendly model interfaces, and automatic calibration software have led to a rapid increase in the number of new users. These advancements also allow less experienced users to conduct SWAT modeling applications. In particular, the use of automated calibration software may produce simulated values that appear appropriate because they adequately mimic measured data used in calibration and validation. Unfortunately, autocalibrated model applications (and often those of unexperienced modelers) may contain input data errors and/or inappropriate parameter adjustments not readily identified by the user or the autocalibration software. Therefore, the objective of this research was to develop a program to assist users in the identification of potential model application problems. The resulting “SWAT Check” is a stand-alone Microsoft Windows® program that: 1) reads selected SWAT output and alerts user of values outside the typical range, 2) creates process-based figures for visualization of the appropriateness of output values, including important outputs that are commonly ignored, and 3) detects and alerts user of common model application errors. By alerting users to potential model application problems, this software should assist the SWAT community in developing more reliable modeling applications.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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