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How good are hydrological models for gap-filling streamflow data?


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How good are hydrological models for gap-filling streamflow data?
« on: September 05, 2018, 08:27:55 AM »


Gap-filling streamflow data is a critical step for most hydrological studies, such as streamflow trend, flood, and drought analysis and hydrological response variable estimates and predictions. However, there is a lack of quantitative evaluation of the gap-filled data accuracy in most hydrological studies. Here we show that when the missing data rate is less than 10 %, the gap-filled streamflow data obtained using calibrated hydrological models perform almost the same as the benchmark data (less than 1 % missing) when estimating annual trends for 217 unregulated catchments widely spread across Australia. Furthermore, the relative streamflow trend bias caused by the gap filling is not very large in very dry catchments where the hydrological model calibration is normally poor. Our results clearly demonstrate that the gap filling using hydrological modelling has little impact on the estimation of annual streamflow and its trends.

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Sonali Pattanayak
Research Associate
Divecha Center for Climate Change