Articles | Volume 21, issue 3
Research article
27 Mar 2017
Research article |  | 27 Mar 2017

A high-resolution dataset of water fluxes and states for Germany accounting for parametric uncertainty

Matthias Zink, Rohini Kumar, Matthias Cuntz, and Luis Samaniego

Abstract. Long-term, high-resolution data about hydrologic fluxes and states are needed for many hydrological applications. Because continuous large-scale observations of such variables are not feasible, hydrologic or land surface models are applied to derive them. This study aims to analyze and provide a consistent high-resolution dataset of land surface variables over Germany, accounting for uncertainties caused by equifinal model parameters. The mesoscale Hydrological Model (mHM) is employed to derive an ensemble (100 members) of evapotranspiration, groundwater recharge, soil moisture, and runoff generated at high spatial and temporal resolutions (4 km and daily, respectively) for the period 1951–2010. The model is cross-evaluated against the observed daily streamflow in 222 basins, which are not used for model calibration. The mean (standard deviation) of the ensemble median Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency estimated for these basins is 0.68 (0.09) for daily streamflow simulations. The modeled evapotranspiration and soil moisture reasonably represent the observations from eddy covariance stations. Our analysis indicates the lowest parametric uncertainty for evapotranspiration, and the largest is observed for groundwater recharge. The uncertainty of the hydrologic variables varies over the course of a year, with the exception of evapotranspiration, which remains almost constant. This study emphasizes the role of accounting for the parametric uncertainty in model-derived hydrological datasets.

Short summary
We discuss the estimation of a long-term, high-resolution, continuous and consistent dataset of hydro-meteorological variables for Germany. Here we describe the derivation of national-scale parameter sets and analyze the uncertainty of the estimated hydrologic variables (focusing on the parametric uncertainty). Our study highlights the role of accounting for the parametric uncertainty in model-derived hydrological datasets.