Comparison of autoregressive moving average and state space methods for monthly time series modelling of Labrador and South-East Quebec river flows

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Time series data such as monthly stream flows can be modelled using time series methods and then used to simulate or forecast flows for short term planning. Two methods of time series modelling were reviewed and compared: the well-known auto regressive moving average (ARMA) method and the state-space time-series (SSTS) method. ARMA has been used in hydrology to model and simulate flows with good results and is widely accepted for this purpose. SSTS modelling is a more recently developed method that is relatively unused for hydrologic modelling. This paper focuses on modelling the stream flows from basins of different sizes using these two time series modelling methods and comparing the results. Three rivers in Labrador and South-East Quebec were modelled: the Romaine, Ugjoktok and Alexis Rivers. Both models were compared for accuracy of prediction, ease of software use and simplicity of model to determine the preferred time series methodology approach for modelling these rivers. The SSTS was considered very easy to use but model diagnostics were found to require a high level of statistical understanding. Ultimately, the ARMA method was determined to be the better method for the typical engineer to use, considering the diagnostics were simple and the monthly flows could be easily simulated to verify results.

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