Articles | Volume 21, issue 9
Research article
 | Highlight paper
28 Sep 2017
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 28 Sep 2017

Complex relationship between seasonal streamflow forecast skill and value in reservoir operations

Sean W. D. Turner, James C. Bennett, David E. Robertson, and Stefano Galelli

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Cited articles

Alemu, E. T., Palmer, R. N., Polebitski, A., and Meaker, B.: Decision support system for optimizing reservoir operations using ensemble streamflow predictions, J. Water Res. Pl.-ASCE, 137, 72–82, 2010.
Anghileri, D., Voisin, N., Castelletti, A., Pianosi, F., Nijssen, B., and Lettenmaier, D. P.: Value of long-term streamflow forecasts to reservoir operations for water supply in snow-dominated river catchments, Water Resour. Res., 52, 4209–4225, 2016.
Bellman, R.: Dynamic programming and Lagrange multipliers, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 42, 767–769, 1956.
Bennett, J. C., Ling, F. L. N., Post, D. A., Grose, M. R., Corney, S. P., Graham, B., Holz, G. K., Katzfey, J. J., and Bindoff, N. L.: High-resolution projections of surface water availability for Tasmania, Australia, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 1287–1303,, 2012.
Bennett, J. C., Wang, Q. J., Li, M., Robertson, D. E., and Schepen, A.: Reliable long-range ensemble streamflow forecasts by combining dynamical climate forecasts, a conceptual runoff model and a staged error model, Water Resour. Res., 52, 8238–8259, 2016.
Short summary
This study investigates the relationship between skill and value of ensemble seasonal streamflow forecasts. Using data from a modern forecasting system, we show that skilled forecasts are more likely to provide benefits for reservoirs operated to maintain a target water level rather than reservoirs operated to satisfy a target demand. We identify the primary causes for this behaviour and provide specific recommendations for assessing the value of forecasts for reservoirs with supply objectives.