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framework for propagation of uncertainty contributed by parameterization, input data, model structure, and calibration/validation data in watershed modeling

Haw Yen, Xiuying Wang, Darrell G. Fontane, R. Daren Harmel, Mazdak Arabi
Environmental modelling & software 2014 v.54 no. pp. 211-221
hydrologic data, hydrologic models, parameter uncertainty, prediction, uncertainty analysis, watershed hydrology, watersheds, Indiana
Failure to consider major sources of uncertainty may bias model predictions in simulating watershed behavior. A framework entitled the Integrated Parameter Estimation and Uncertainty Analysis Tool (IPEAT), was developed utilizing Bayesian inferences, an input error model and modified goodness-of-fit statistics to incorporate uncertainty in parameter, model structure, input data, and calibration/validation data in watershed modeling. Applications of the framework at the Eagle Creek Watershed in Indiana shows that watershed behavior was more realistically represented when the four uncertainty sources were considered jointly without having to embed watershed behavior constraints in auto-calibration. Accounting for the major sources of uncertainty associated with watershed modeling produces more realistic predictions, improves the quality of calibrated solutions, and consequently reduces predictive uncertainty. IPEAT is an innovative tool to investigate and explore the significance of uncertainty sources, which enhances watershed modeling by improved characterization and assessment of predictive uncertainty.