University of Twente Student Theses


Comparison of two physically-based spatially distributed hydrology models in contrasting geo-climatic settings

Thomas, Bindhu Canjirathinkal (2010) Comparison of two physically-based spatially distributed hydrology models in contrasting geo-climatic settings.

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Abstract:The relative performance of two physically-based hydrology models (STARWARS and STREAM) were compared based on data from two geoclimatically contrasting environments namely Aruvikkal catchment in the Western Ghats of Kerala, India and Parapuños in the Extremadura province of Spain. The attempt was to identify the ‘best’ of the two models which could accurately predict discharge without losing the quality of baseflow prediction, despite subjecting it to calibrations targeting either baseflow or streamflow. The seasonality and variability of the hydrological responses of the catchments were assessed using a time series analysis (cross-correlation). The observed discharge data, the baseflow component separated from it and the results of the time series analysis was used as orthogonal information for the calibration of the models. Based on this analysis the optimal time step for the simulation of the model in Aruvikkal was 6 hrs and in Parapuños was 3 hrs. The models were calibrated for the observed discharge and the baseflow, separately. Both models performed very well for the Aruvikkal catchment. Due to inadequate parameterization and the sporadic nature of the rainfall and discharge, the performance of the models was impaired in Parapuños catchment wherein complex hydrological processes such as preferential flows dominate in contributing to discharge. The absolute error of discharge predictions (NRMSE) were as low as 0.05 for a fit (R2) of 0.92 for the STARWARS, against 0.06 for a fit of 0.88 for the STREAM. The study concludes that the STARWARS, despite being a complex model necessitating significantly more data, is the ‘best’ of the two for the prediction of discharge and baseflow of the catchments and hence has the necessary potential to be used for further hydrological investigations in the respective catchments.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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