Towards Improved Modeling for Hydrologic Predictions in Poorly Gauged Basins
AuthorYilmaz, Koray Kamil
AdvisorGupta, Hoshin V.
Committee ChairGupta, Hoshin V.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn most regions of the world, and particularly in developing countries, the possibility and reliability of hydrologic predictions is severely limited, because conventional measurement networks (e.g. rain and stream gauges) are either nonexistent or sparsely located. This study, therefore, investigates various systems methods and newly available data acquisition techniques to evaluate their potential for improving hydrologic predictions in poorly gaged and ungaged watersheds.Part One of this study explores the utility of satellite-remote-sensing-based rainfall estimates for watershed-scale hydrologic modeling at watersheds in the Southeastern U.S. The results indicate that satellite-based rainfall estimates may contain significant bias which varies with watershed size and location. This bias, of course, then propagates into the hydrologic model simulations. However, model performance in large basins can be significantly improved if short-term streamflow observations are available for model calibration.Part Two of this study deals with the fact that hydrologic predictions in poorly gauged/ungauged watersheds rely strongly on a priori estimates of the model parameters derived from observable watershed characteristics. Two different investigations of the reliability of a priori parameter estimates for the distributed HL-DHMS model were conducted. First, a multi-criteria penalty function framework was formulated to assess the degree of agreement between the information content (about model parameters) contained in the precipitation-streamflow observational data set and that given by the a priori parameter estimates. The calibration includes a novel approach to handling spatially distributed parameters and streamflow measurement errors. The results indicated the existence of a significant trade-off between the ability to maintain reasonable model performance while maintaining the parameters close to their a priori values. The analysis indicates those parameters responsible for this discrepancy so that corrective measures can be devised. Second, a diagnostic approach to model performance assessment was developed based on a hierarchical conceptualization of the major functions of any watershed system. "Signature measures" are proposed that effectively extract the information about various watershed functions contained in the streamflow observations. Manual and automated approaches to the diagnostic model evaluation were explored and were found to be valuable in constraining the range of parameter sets while maintaining conceptual consistency of the model.