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    Transferability of hydrological models and ensemble averaging methods between contrasting climatic periods

    Broderick, Ciaran and Matthews, Tom K.R. and Wilby, Robert L. and Bastola, Satish and Murphy, Conor (2016) Transferability of hydrological models and ensemble averaging methods between contrasting climatic periods. Water Resources Research, 52. pp. 8343-8373. ISSN 1944-7973

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    Understanding hydrological model predictive capabilities under contrasting climate conditions enables more robust decision making. Using Differential Split Sample Testing (DSST), we analyze the performance of six hydrological models for 37 Irish catchments under climate conditions unlike those used for model training. Additionally, we consider four ensemble averaging techniques when examining interperiod transferability. DSST is conducted using 2/3 year noncontinuous blocks of (i) the wettest/driest years on record based on precipitation totals and (ii) years with a more/less pronounced seasonal precipitation regime. Model transferability between contrasting regimes was found to vary depending on the testing scenario, catchment, and evaluation criteria considered. As expected, the ensemble average outperformed most individual ensemble members. However, averaging techniques differed considerably in the number of times they surpassed the best individual model member. Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) and the Granger-Ramanathan Averaging (GRA) method were found to outperform the simple arithmetic mean (SAM) and Akaike Information Criteria Averaging (AICA). Here GRA performed better than the best individual model in 51%–86% of cases (according to the Nash-Sutcliffe criterion). When assessing model predictive skill under climate change conditions we recommend (i) setting up DSST to select the best available analogues of expected annual mean and seasonal climate conditions; (ii) applying multiple performance criteria; (iii) testing transferability using a diverse set of catchments; and (iv) using a multimodel ensemble in conjunction with an appropriate averaging technique. Given the computational efficiency and performance of GRA relative to BMA, the former is recommended as the preferred ensemble averaging technique for climate assessment.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Transferability; hydrological models; ensemble averaging methods; contrasting climatic periods;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units, ICARUS
    Item ID: 8886
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Conor Murphy
    Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2017 15:46
    Journal or Publication Title: Water Resources Research
    Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU)
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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