Toward seamless hydrologic predictions across spatial scales
Abstract. Land surface and hydrologic models (LSMs/HMs) are used at diverse spatial resolutions ranging from catchment-scale (1–10 km) to global-scale (over 50 km) applications. Applying the same model structure at different spatial scales requires that the model estimates similar fluxes independent of the chosen resolution, i.e., fulfills a flux-matching condition across scales. An analysis of state-of-the-art LSMs and HMs reveals that most do not have consistent hydrologic parameter fields. Multiple experiments with the mHM, Noah-MP, PCR-GLOBWB, and WaterGAP models demonstrate the pitfalls of deficient parameterization practices currently used in most operational models, which are insufficient to satisfy the flux-matching condition. These examples demonstrate that J. Dooge's 1982 statement on the unsolved problem of parameterization in these models remains true. Based on a review of existing parameter regionalization techniques, we postulate that the multiscale parameter regionalization (MPR) technique offers a practical and robust method that provides consistent (seamless) parameter and flux fields across scales. Herein, we develop a general model protocol to describe how MPR can be applied to a particular model and present an example application using the PCR-GLOBWB model. Finally, we discuss potential advantages and limitations of MPR in obtaining the seamless prediction of hydrological fluxes and states across spatial scales.