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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Flood prediction using parameters calibrated on limited discharge data and uncertain rainfall scenarios

Reynolds, J. E.; Halldin, S.; Seibert, J.; Xu, C. Y.; Grabs, T.;


Discharge observations and reliable rainfall forecasts are essential for flood prediction but their availability and accuracy are often limited. However, even scarce data may still allow adequate flood forecasts to be made. Here, we explored how far using limited discharge calibration data and uncertain forcing data would affect the performance of a bucket-type hydrological model for simulating floods in a tropical basin. Three events above thresholds with a high and a low frequency of occurrence were used in calibration and 81 rainfall scenarios with different degrees of uncertainty were used as input to assess their effects on flood predictions. Relatively similar model performance was found when using calibrated parameters based on a few events above different thresholds. Flood predictions were sensitive to rainfall errors, but those related to volume had a larger impact. The results of this study indicate that a limited number of events can be useful for predicting floods given uncertain rainfall forecasts.


floods; rainfall forecasts; rainfall-runoff modelling; event-based calibration; ungauged basins; value of information

Published in

Hydrological Sciences Journal

2020, volume: 65, number: 9, pages: 1512-1524

Authors' information

Grabs, T.
Uppsala Univ
Xu, C. Y.
Univ Oslo
University of Zürich
Uppsala University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Reynolds, J. E.
Swedish Meteorol and Hydrol Inst
Halldin, S.
Karlstad Univ

UKÄ Subject classification

Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

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