Towards benchmarking an in-stream water quality model
Abstract. A method of model evaluation is presented which utilises a comparison with a benchmark model. The proposed benchmarking concept is one that can be applied to many hydrological models but, in this instance, is implemented in the context of an in-stream water quality model. The benchmark model is defined in such a way that it is easily implemented within the framework of the test model, i.e. the approach relies on two applications of the same model code rather than the application of two separate model codes. This is illustrated using two case studies from the UK, the Rivers Aire and Ouse, with the objective of simulating a water quality classification, general quality assessment (GQA), which is based on dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand and ammonium. Comparisons between the benchmark and test models are made based on GQA, as well as a step-wise assessment against the components required in its derivation. The benchmarking process yields a great deal of important information about the performance of the test model and raises issues about a priori definition of the assessment criteria.