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Spatial Calibration and Temporal Validation of Flow for Regional Scale Hydrologic Modeling
- Santhi, C., Kannan, N., Arnold, J.G., Di Luzio, M.
- Journal of the American Water Resources Association 2008 v.44 no.4 pp. 829
- hydrologic models, spatial variation, temporal variation, calibration, model validation, water management, water flow, rivers, basins, runoff, watershed hydrology, stream flow, Soil and Water Assessment Tool model, simulation models, Arkansas River, Ohio River
- Physically based regional scale hydrologic modeling is gaining importance for planning and management of water resources. Calibration and validation of such regional scale model is necessary before applying it for scenario assessment. However, in most regional scale hydrologic modeling, flow validation is performed at the river basin outlet without accounting for spatial variations in hydrological parameters within the subunits. In this study, we calibrated the model to capture the spatial variations in runoff at subwatershed level to assure local water balance, and validated the streamflow at key gaging stations along the river to assure temporal variability. Ohio and Arkansas-White-Red River Basins of the United States were modeled using Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) for the period from 1961 to 1990. R2 values of average annual runoff at subwatersheds were 0.78 and 0.99 for the Ohio and Arkansas Basins. Observed and simulated annual and monthly streamflow from 1961 to 1990 is used for temporal validation at the gages. R2 values estimated were greater than 0.6. In summary, spatially distributed calibration at subwatersheds and temporal validation at the stream gages accounted for the spatial and temporal hydrological patterns reasonably well in the two river basins. This study highlights the importance of spatially distributed calibration and validation in large river basins.