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Model Uncertainty Analysis Methods for Semi-Arid Watersheds with Different Characteristics: A Comparative SWAT Case Study

Zhang, Lufang, Xue, Baolin, Yan, Yuhui, Wang, Guoqiang, Sun, Wenchao, Li, Zhanjie, Yu, Jingshan, Xie, Gang, Shi, Huijian
Water 2019 v.11 no.6
Soil and Water Assessment Tool model, case studies, geography, model uncertainty, model validation, parameter uncertainty, prediction, uncertainty analysis, water management, watersheds
Distributed hydrological models play a vital role in water resources management. With the rapid development of distributed hydrological models, research into model uncertainty has become a very important field. When studying traditional hydrological model uncertainty, it is very common to use multisite observation data to evaluate the performance of the model in the same watershed, but there are few studies on uncertainty in watersheds with different characteristics. This study is based on the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model, and uses two common methods: Sequential Uncertainty Fitting Version 2 (SUFI-2) and Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation (GLUE) for uncertainty analysis. We compared these methods in terms of parameter uncertainty, model prediction uncertainty, and simulation effects. The Xiaoqing River basin and the Xinxue River basin, which have different characteristics, including watershed geography and scale, were used for the study areas. The results show that the GLUE method had better applicability in the Xiaoqing River basin, and that the SUFI-2 method provided more reasonable and accurate analysis results in the Xinxue River basin; thus, the applicability was higher. The uncertainty analysis method is affected to some extent by the characteristics of the watershed.