Articles | Volume 3, issue 1
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 3, 85–93, 1999

Special issue: The TIGER Programme

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 3, 85–93, 1999

  31 Mar 1999

31 Mar 1999

Functional similarity in landscape scale SVAT modelling

K. J. Beven and S. W. Franks*,† K. J. Beven and S. W. Franks
  • Centre for Research on Environmental Systems and Statistics, Institute of Environmental and Natural Science, Lancaster University, Lancashire, LA1 4YQ, U.K.
  • *Now at: Department of Civil, Surveying and Environmental Engineering, University of Newcastle, Callaghan 2308, NSW, Australia.
  • Corresponding author

Abstract. In this study, it is shown that the complexity of Soil Vegetation Atmosphere Transfer (SVAT) models leads to an equifinality of functional behaviour - many parameterizations from many areas of the parameter space lead to very similar responses. Individual parameters derived by calibration (i.e. model inversion) against limited measurements are, therefore, highly uncertain. Due to the non-linear internal behaviour of SVAT models, aggregation of uncertainly known parameter fields to parameterize landscape scale variability in surface fluxes will yield highly uncertain predictions. A disaggregation approach suggested by Beven (1995) requires that the land surface be represented by a linear sum of a number of representative parameterizations or functional types. This study explores the nature of the parameter space in terms of a simple definition of functional behaviour. Parameter interactions producing similar predicted behaviours are investigated through application of Principal Component Analyses. These reveal the lack of a dominant global interaction indicating the presence of highly complex parameter interactions throughout the feasible parameter space.

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