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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  28 Oct 2020

28 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Benchmarking an operational hydrological model for providing seasonal forecasts in Sweden

Marc Girons Lopez, Louise Crochemore, and Ilias G. Pechlivanidis Marc Girons Lopez et al.
  • Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, 601 76 Norrköping, Sweden

Abstract. Probabilistic seasonal forecasts are important for many water-intensive activities requiring long-term planning. Among the different techniques used for seasonal forecasting, the Ensemble Streamflow Prediction (ESP) approach has long been employed due to the singular dependence on past meteorological records. The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute is currently extending the use of long-range forecasts within its operational warning service, which requires a thorough analysis of the suitability and applicability of different methods with the national S-HYPE hydrological model. To this end, we aim to evaluate the skill of ESP forecasts over 39,493 catchments in Sweden, understand their spatiotemporal patterns, and explore the main hydrological processes driving forecast skill. We found that ESP forecasts are generally skilful for most of the country up to 3 months into the future but that large spatiotemporal variations exist. Forecasts are most skilful during the winter months in northern Sweden, except for the highly-regulated hydropower-producing rivers. The relationships between forecast skill and 15 different hydrological signatures show that forecasts are most skilful for slowly-reacting, baseflow-dominated catchments and least skilful for flashy catchments. Finally, we show that forecast skill patterns can be spatially clustered in 7 unique regions with similar hydrological behaviour. Overall, these results contribute to identify in which areas, seasons, and how long into the future ESP hydrological forecasts provide an added value, not only for the national forecasting and warning service but, most importantly, to guide decision-making in critical services such as hydropower management and risk reduction.

Marc Girons Lopez et al.

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Marc Girons Lopez et al.

Marc Girons Lopez et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The Swedish hydrological warning service is extending its use of seasonal forecasts, which requires an analysis of the available methods. We evaluate the simple ESP method and find out how and why forecasts vary in time and space. We find that forecasts are useful up to 3 months into the future, especially during winter and in northern Sweden. They tend to be good in slowly-reacting catchments and bad in flashy and highly-regulated ones. We finally link them with areas of similar behaviour.
The Swedish hydrological warning service is extending its use of seasonal forecasts, which...