Estimating the impacts and uncertainty of changing spatial input data resolutions on streamflow simulations in two basins

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The impact of different grid resolutions of spatial input data on modelled river runoff are investigated using the simple rainfall-runoff model KIDS (Kielstau Discharge Simulations) in PCRaster modelling language for two watersheds – Kielstau and XitaoXi. In this study, the grid-based spatial data are aggregated to coarser resolutions to support the multi-resolution, multi-calibration and multi-site analysis for grid-scale investigations. Daily streamflow is simulated and model parameters are calibrated at each spatial resolution. The study suggests that re-calibration is critically needed when the grid resolution is changed. Altering grid sizes has an apparent impact on the parameter distribution patterns. Resolution uncertainty bands obtained by the overlapping hydrographs generated with different resolutions of input data are reported with a sufficient coverage of the observations for both basins. The analysis of model efficiency in terms of IC-ratio (a ratio between the input grid area and the catchment area) indicates that coarser resolutions with an IC-ratio of <0.001 may be used as an effective alternative for conducting preliminary analyses in streamflow simulation for the Kielstau basin. The modelling outputs are more sensitive to the spatial distribution of input data at the XitaoXi watershed, showing that accurate input data are required to achieve optimum modelling performance.

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