HESS Opinions: Advocating process modeling and de-emphasizing parameter estimation
Abstract. Since its origins as an engineering discipline, with its widespread use of "black box" (empirical) modeling approaches, hydrology has evolved into a scientific discipline that seeks a more "white box" (physics-based) modeling approach to solving problems such as the description and simulation of the rainfall–runoff responses of a watershed. There has been much recent debate regarding the future of the hydrological sciences, and several publications have voiced opinions on this subject. This opinion paper seeks to comment and expand upon some recent publications that have advocated an increased focus on process-based modeling while de-emphasizing the focus on detailed attention to parameter estimation. In particular, it offers a perspective that emphasizes a more hydraulic (more physics-based and less empirical) approach to development and implementation of hydrological models.