Articles | Volume 11, issue 2
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 703–710, 2007
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-11-703-2007

Special issue: Towards a new generation of hydrological process models for...

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 703–710, 2007
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-11-703-2007

  17 Jan 2007

17 Jan 2007

Calibration of hydrological model parameters for ungauged catchments

A. Bárdossy A. Bárdossy
  • IWS, University of Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 61, 70550 Stuttgart, Germany

Abstract. The parameters of hydrological models for catchments with few or no discharge records can be estimated using regional information. One can assume that catchments with similar characteristics show a similar hydrological behaviour and thus can be modeled using similar model parameters. Therefore a regionalisation of the hydrological model parameters on the basis of catchment characteristics is plausible. However, due to the non-uniqueness of the rainfall-runoff model parameters (equifinality), a workflow of regional parameter estimation by model calibration and a subsequent fit of a regional function is not appropriate. In this paper a different approach for the transfer of entire parameter sets from one catchment to another is discussed. Parameter sets are considered as tranferable if the corresponding model performance (defined as the Nash-Sutclife efficiency) on the donor catchment is good and the regional statistics: means and variances of annual discharges estimated from catchment properties and annual climate statistics for the recipient catchment are well reproduced by the model. The methodology is applied to a set of 16 catchments in the German part of the Rhine catchments. Results show that the parameters transfered according to the above criteria perform well on the target catchments.