Articles | Volume 19, issue 1
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 1–15, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-19-1-2015
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 1–15, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-19-1-2015

Research article 06 Jan 2015

Research article | 06 Jan 2015

A strategy to overcome adverse effects of autoregressive updating of streamflow forecasts

M. Li1, Q. J. Wang2, J. C. Bennett2, and D. E. Robertson2 M. Li et al.
  • 1CSIRO Digital Productivity Flagship, Floreat, Western Australia, Australia
  • 2CSIRO Land and Water Flagship, Highett, Victoria, Australia

Abstract. For streamflow forecasting, rainfall–runoff models are often augmented with updating procedures that correct forecasts based on the latest available streamflow observations of streamflow. A popular approach for updating forecasts is autoregressive (AR) models, which exploit the "memory" in hydrological model simulation errors. AR models may be applied to raw errors directly or to normalised errors. In this study, we demonstrate that AR models applied in either way can sometimes cause over-correction of forecasts. In using an AR model applied to raw errors, the over-correction usually occurs when streamflow is rapidly receding. In applying an AR model to normalised errors, the over-correction usually occurs when streamflow is rapidly rising. In addition, when parameters of a hydrological model and an AR model are estimated jointly, the AR model applied to normalised errors sometimes degrades the stand-alone performance of the base hydrological model. This is not desirable for forecasting applications, as forecasts should rely as much as possible on the base hydrological model, with updating only used to correct minor errors. To overcome the adverse effects of the conventional AR models, a restricted AR model applied to normalised errors is introduced. We show that the new model reduces over-correction and improves the performance of the base hydrological model considerably.