Comparing seasonal streamflow forecast systems for management of a fresh water reservoir in the Netherlands
Abstract. For efficient management of the Dutch surface water reservoir Lake IJssel, (sub)seasonal forecasts of the water volumes going in and out of the reservoir are potentially of great interest. Here, streamflow forecasts were analyzed for the river Rhine at Lobith, which is partly routed through the river IJssel, the main influx into the reservoir. We analyzed multiple seasonal forecast data sets derived from EFAS, E-HYPE and HTESSEL, which differ in their underlying hydrological formulation, but are all forced with similar input from the ECMWF SEAS5 meteorological forecasts. We post-processed the streamflow forecasts using quantile matching (QM) and analyzed several forecast quality metrics. Forecast performance was assessed based on the available reforecast period, as well as on individual summer seasons. QM increased forecast skill for nearly all metrics evaluated. Particularly HTESSEL, a land surface scheme that is not optimized for hydrology, needed the largest correction. Averaged over the reforecast period, forecasts were skillful for the longest lead times in spring and early summer. For this period, E-HYPE showed the highest skill; Later in summer, however, skill deteriorated after 1–2 months. When investigating specific years with either low or high flow conditions, forecast skill increased with the extremity of the event. Although raw forecasts for both E-HYPE and EFAS were more skilful than HTESSEL, bias correction based on QM can significantly reduce the difference. In operational mode, the three forecast systems show comparable skill. In general, dry conditions can be forecasted with high success rates up to three months ahead, which is very promising for successful use of Rhine streamflow forecasts in downstream reservoir management.
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