Articles | Volume 20, issue 3
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 1069–1079, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-1069-2016

Special issue: HESS Opinions 2016

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 1069–1079, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-1069-2016

Opinion article 09 Mar 2016

Opinion article | 09 Mar 2016

HESS Opinions: The need for process-based evaluation of large-domain hyper-resolution models

Lieke A. Melsen1, Adriaan J. Teuling1, Paul J. J. F. Torfs1, Remko Uijlenhoet1, Naoki Mizukami2, and Martyn P. Clark2 Lieke A. Melsen et al.
  • 1Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 3a, 6708 PB Wageningen, the Netherlands
  • 2National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, CO, USA

Abstract. A meta-analysis on 192 peer-reviewed articles reporting on applications of the variable infiltration capacity (VIC) model in a distributed way reveals that the spatial resolution at which the model is applied has increased over the years, while the calibration and validation time interval has remained unchanged. We argue that the calibration and validation time interval should keep pace with the increase in spatial resolution in order to resolve the processes that are relevant at the applied spatial resolution. We identified six time concepts in hydrological models, which all impact the model results and conclusions. Process-based model evaluation is particularly relevant when models are applied at hyper-resolution, where stakeholders expect credible results both at a high spatial and temporal resolution.

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A meta-analysis on 192 peer-reviewed articles reporting applications of a land surface model in a distributed way reveals that the spatial resolution at which the model is applied has increased over the years, while the calibration and validation time interval has remained unchanged. We argue that the calibration and validation time interval should keep pace with the increase in spatial resolution in order to resolve the processes that are relevant at the applied spatial resolution.