ERA5 and ERA-Interim Data Processing for the GlobWat Global Hydrological Model

Banafsheh Abdollahi*, Fakhereh Alidoost, Davood Moshir Panahi, Rolf Hut, Nick van de Giesen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The reproducibility of computational hydrology is gaining attention among hydrologists. Reproducibility requires open and reusable code and data, allowing users to verify results and process new datasets. The creation of input files for global hydrological models (GHMs) requires complex high-resolution gridded dataset processing, limiting the model’s reproducibility to groups with advanced programming skills. GlobWat is one of these GHMs, which was developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to assess irrigation water use. Although the GlobWat code and sample input data are available, the methods for pre-processing model inputs are not available. Here, we present a set of open-source Python and YAML scripts within the Earth System Model Evaluation Tool (ESMValTool) that provide a formalized technique for developing and processing GlobWat model weather inputs. We demonstrate the use of these scripts with the ERA5 and ERA-Interim datasets from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). To demonstrate the advantage of using these scripts, we ran the GlobWat model for 30 years for the entire world. The focus of the evaluation was on the Urmia Lake Basin in Iran. The validation of the model against the observed discharge in this basin showed that the combination of ERA5 and the De Bruin reference evaporation method yields the best GlobWat performance. Moreover, the scripts allowed us to examine the causes behind the differences in model outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1950
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • global hydrological modelling
  • reproducibility
  • GlobWat
  • ESMValTool
  • ERA5
  • ERA-Interim
  • Urmia Lake Basin


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