Spatio‐temporal hydrological model structure and parametrization analysis

Mostafa Farrag, Gerald Corzo Perez, Dimitri Solomatine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
76 Downloads (Pure)


Many grid‐based spatial hydrological models suffer from the complexity of setting up a coherent spatial structure to calibrate such a complex, highly parameterized system. There are essential aspects of model‐building to be taken into account: spatial resolution, the routing equation limitations, and calibration of spatial parameters, and their influence on modeling results, all are decisions that are often made without adequate analysis. In this research, an experimental analysis of grid discretization level, an analysis of processes integration, and the routing concepts are ana-lyzed. The HBV‐96 model is set up for each cell, and later on, cells are integrated into an interlinked modeling system (Hapi). The Jiboa River Basin in El Salvador is used as a case study. The first concept tested is the model structure temporal responses, which are highly linked to the runoff dynam-ics. By changing the runoff generation model description, we explore the responses to events. Two routing models are considered: Muskingum, which routes the runoff from each cell following the river network, and Maxbas, which routes the runoff directly to the outlet. The second concept is the spatial representation, where the model is built and tested for different spatial resolutions (500 m, 1 km, 2 km, and 4 km). The results show that the spatial sensitivity of the resolution is highly linked to the routing method, and it was found that routing sensitivity influenced the model performance more than the spatial discretization, and allowing for coarser discretization makes the model sim-pler and computationally faster. Slight performance improvement is gained by using different pa-rameters’ values for each cell. It was found that the 2 km cell size corresponds to the least model error values. The proposed hydrological modeling codes have been published as open‐source.

Original languageEnglish
Article number467
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Conceptual‐distributed model
  • HBV
  • Model structure analysis
  • Muskingum rout-ing
  • OAT sensitivity analysis
  • Raster‐based


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