Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Southeast Watershed Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #328788

Title: How to constrain multi-objective calibrations of the SWAT model using water balance components

Author
item PFANNERSTILL, MATTHIAS - UNIVERSITY OF KIEL
item BIEGER, KATRIN - TEXAS A&M AGRILIFE
item GUSE, BJORN - UNIVERSITY OF KIEL
item Bosch, David - Dave
item FOHRER, NICOLA - UNIVERSITY OF KIEL
item Arnold, Jeffrey

Submitted to: Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/9/2017
Publication Date: 5/8/2017
Citation: Pfannerstill, M., Bieger, K., Guse, B., Bosch, D.D., Fohrer, N., Arnold, J.G. 2017. How to constrain multi-objective calibrations of the SWAT model using water balance components. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. https://doi.org/10.1111/jawra.1752-1688.12524.

Interpretive Summary: Automated procedures are often used to provide adequate fits between hydrologic model estimates and observed data. While the models may provide good fits based upon numeric criteria, they may still not accurately represent the basic hydrologic characteristics of the represented watershed. Here we present an evaluation framework that aims to calibrate hydrological models considering both discharge and individual water balance components as evaluation criteria. Our results indicate that several trade-offs exist between good statistics for discharge simulations and reasonable water balance. These trade-offs must be considered in the fitting process. We conclude that the application of statistical measures for discharge dynamics and magnitude is not sufficient to ensure a reasonable simulation of the hydrological system and we recommend constraining the ranges of water balance components to achieve a more realistic simulation of hydrological system.

Technical Abstract: Automated procedures are often used to provide adequate fits between hydrologic model estimates and observed data. While the models may provide good fits based upon numeric criteria, they may still not accurately represent the basic hydrologic characteristics of the represented watershed. Here we present an evaluation framework that aims to calibrate hydrological models considering both discharge and individual water balance components as evaluation criteria. Our results indicate that several trade-offs exist between good statistics for discharge simulations and reasonable water balance. These trade-offs must be considered in the fitting process. We conclude that the application of statistical measures for discharge dynamics and magnitude is not sufficient to ensure a reasonable simulation of the hydrological system and we recommend constraining the ranges of water balance components to achieve a more realistic simulation of hydrological system.