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Propagation of uncertainties in interpolated rainfields to runoff errors

Gyasi-Agyei, Yeboah
Hydrological sciences journal 2019 v.64 no.5 pp. 587-606
geographic information systems, hydrograph, hydrologic models, kriging, radar, rain, rain gauges, runoff, storms, uncertainty, watersheds
Conditional daily rainfields were generated using collocated raingauge radar data by a kriging interpolation method, and disaggregated into hourly rainfields using variants of the method of fragments. A geographic information system (GIS)-based distributed rainfall–runoff model was used to convert the hourly rainfields into hydrographs. Using the complete radar rainfall as input, the rainfall–runoff model was calibrated based on storm events taken from nested catchments. Performance statistics were estimated by comparing the observed and the complete radar rainfall simulated hydrographs. Degradation in the hydrograph performance statistics by the simulated hourly rainfields was used to identify runoff error propagation. Uncertainty in daily rainfall amounts alone caused higher errors in runoff (depth, peak, and time to peak) than those caused by uncertainties in the hourly proportions alone. However, the degradation, which reduced with runoff depth, caused by the combined uncertainties was not significantly different from that caused by the uncertainty of amounts alone.