Articles | Volume 15, issue 1
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 255–265, 2011
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 255–265, 2011

Research article 21 Jan 2011

Research article | 21 Jan 2011

Estimation of predictive hydrological uncertainty using quantile regression: examples from the National Flood Forecasting System (England and Wales)

A. H. Weerts1, H. C. Winsemius1, and J. S. Verkade1,2 A. H. Weerts et al.
  • 1Deltares, P.O. Box 177, 2600 MH Delft, The Netherlands
  • 2Delft University of Technology, Department of Flood Risk Management and Hydraulic Structures,Delft, The Netherlands

Abstract. In this paper, a technique is presented for assessing the predictive uncertainty of rainfall-runoff and hydraulic forecasts. The technique conditions forecast uncertainty on the forecasted value itself, based on retrospective Quantile Regression of hindcasted water level forecasts and forecast errors. To test the robustness of the method, a number of retrospective forecasts for different catchments across England and Wales having different size and hydrological characteristics have been used to derive in a probabilistic sense the relation between simulated values of water levels and matching errors. From this study, we can conclude that using Quantile Regression for estimating forecast errors conditional on the forecasted water levels provides a relatively simple, efficient and robust means for estimation of predictive uncertainty.