Assessment of Spatial Transferability of Process-Based Hydrological Model Parameters in Two Neighbouring Catchments in the Himalayan Region (2017)

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Estimating the hydrological regime of ungauged catchments in the Himalayan region is challenging due to a lack of sufficient monitoring stations. In this paper, the spatial transferability of the model parameters of the process-oriented J2000 hydrological model was investigated in 2 glaciated subcatchments of the Koshi river basin in eastern Nepal. The catchments have a high degree of similarity with respect to their static landscape features. The model was first calibrated (1986–1991) and validated (1992–1997) in the Dudh Koshi subcatchment. The calibrated and validated model parameters were then transferred to the nearby Tamor catchment (2001–2009). Sensitivity and uncertainty analyses were carried out for both subcatchments to discover the sensitivity range of the parameters in the two catchments. The model represented the overall hydrograph well in both subcatchments, including baseflow, rising and falling limbs; however, the peak flows were underestimated. The efficiency results according to both Nash–Sutcliffe (ENS) and the coefficient of determination (r2) were above 0.84 in both catchments (1986–1997 in Dudh Koshi and 2001–2009 in Tamor). The ranking of the parameters in respect to their sensitivity matched well for both catchments while taking ENS and log Nash–Sutcliffe (LNS) efficiencies into account. However, there were some differences in sensitivity to ENS and LNS for moderately and less-sensitive parameters, although the majority (13 out of 16 for ENS and 16 out of 16 for LNS) had a sensitivity response in a similar range. The generalized uncertainty likelihood estimation results suggest that the parameter uncertainty are most of the time within the range and the ensemble mean matches very good (ENS: 0.84) with observed discharge. The results indicate that transfer of the J2000 parameters to a neighbouring catchment in the Himalayan region with similar physiographic landscape characteristics is viable. This indicates the possibility of applying a calibrated process-based J2000 model to other ungauged catchments in the Himalayan region, which could provide important insights into the hydrological system dynamics and provide much needed information to support water resources planning and management.
Year: 2017
Language: English
In: Hydrological Processes, 1-15 p.

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