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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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  22 Sep 2020

22 Sep 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

A Wavelet-Based Approach to Streamflow Event Identification and Modeled Timing Error Evaluation

Erin Towler and James L. McCreight Erin Towler and James L. McCreight
  • National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307

Abstract. Streamflow timing errors (in the units of time) are rarely explicitly evaluated, but are useful for model evaluation and development. Wavelet-based approaches have been shown to reliably quantify timing errors in streamflow simulations, but have not been applied in a systematic way that is suitable for model evaluation. This paper provides a step-by-step methodology that objectively identifies events, and then estimates timing errors for those events, in a way that can be applied to large-sample, high-resolution predictions. Step 1 applies the wavelet transform to the observations, and uses statistical significance to identify observed events. Step 2 utilizes the cross-wavelet transform to calculate the timing errors for the events identified in Step 1. The approach also includes a quantification of the confidence in the timing error estimates. The methodology is illustrated using real and simulated stream discharge data from several locations to highlight key method features. The method groups event timing errors by dominant timescales, which can be used to identify the potential processes contributing to the timing errors and the associated model development needs. For instance, timing errors that are associated with the diurnal melt cycle are identified. The method is also useful for documenting and evaluating model performance in terms of defined standards. This is illustrated by showing version-over-version performance of the National Water Model (NWM) in terms of timing errors.

Erin Towler and James L. McCreight

Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Erin Towler and James L. McCreight

Erin Towler and James L. McCreight


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