Articles | Volume 27, issue 13
Research article
03 Jul 2023
Research article |  | 03 Jul 2023

When best is the enemy of good – critical evaluation of performance criteria in hydrological models

Guillaume Cinkus, Naomi Mazzilli, Hervé Jourde, Andreas Wunsch, Tanja Liesch, Nataša Ravbar, Zhao Chen, and Nico Goldscheider

Model code and software

Busemorose/KGE_critical_evaluation: Model code release G. Cinkus and A. Wunsch

Short summary
The Kling–Gupta Efficiency (KGE) is a performance criterion extensively used to evaluate hydrological models. We conduct a critical study on the KGE and its variant to examine counterbalancing errors. Results show that, when assessing a simulation, concurrent over- and underestimation of discharge can lead to an overall higher criterion score without an associated increase in model relevance. We suggest that one carefully choose performance criteria and use scaling factors.