Articles | Volume 19, issue 9
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 3951–3968, 2015
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 3951–3968, 2015
Research article
24 Sep 2015
Research article | 24 Sep 2015

Uncertainty in hydrological signatures

I. K. Westerberg and H. K. McMillan

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Subject: Catchment hydrology | Techniques and Approaches: Uncertainty analysis
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Cited articles

Ali, G., Oswald, C. J., Spence, C., Cammeraat, E. L. H., McGuire, K. J., Meixner, T., and Reaney, S. M.: Towards a unified threshold-based hydrological theory: necessary components and recurring challenges, Hydrol. Process., 27, 313–318, 2013.
Archer, D. and Newson, M.: The use of indices of flow variability in assessing the hydrological and instream habitat impacts of upland afforestation and drainage, J. Hydrol., 268, 244–258, 2002.
Bengtsson, L. and Milloti, S.: Extreme storms in Malmo, Sweden, Hydrol. Process., 24, 3462–3475, 2010.
Blazkova, S. and Beven, K. J.: A limits of acceptability approach to model evaluation and uncertainty estimation in flood frequency estimation by continuous simulation: Skalka catchment, Czech Republic, Water Resour. Res., 45, W00B16,, 2009.
Blöschl, G., Sivapalan, M., Wagener, T., Viglione, A., and Savenije, H. H. G. (Eds.): Runoff Prediction in Ungauged Basins: Synthesis Across Processes, Places and Scales, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2013.
Short summary
This study investigated the effect of uncertainties in data and calculation methods on hydrological signatures. We present a widely applicable method to evaluate signature uncertainty and show results for two example catchments. The uncertainties were often large (i.e. typical intervals of ±10–40% relative uncertainty) and highly variable between signatures. It is therefore important to consider uncertainty when signatures are used for hydrological and ecohydrological analyses and modelling.