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Andrea Thorstensen, Phu Nguyen, Kuolin Hsu, and Soroosh Sorooshian

Abstract

Calibration is a crucial step in hydrologic modeling that is typically handled by tuning parameters to match an observed hydrograph. In this research, an alternative calibration scheme based on soil moisture was investigated as a means of identifying the potentially heterogeneous calibration needs of a distributed hydrologic model. The National Weather Service’s (NWS) Hydrology Laboratory Research Distributed Hydrologic Model (HL-RDHM) was employed to carry out such a calibration, along with concentrated in situ soil moisture observations from the Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) field campaign in Iowa’s Turkey River basin. Synthetic, single-pixel experiments were conducted in order to identify parameters relevant to soil moisture dynamics and to test the ability of three calibration procedures (discharge, soil moisture, and hybrid based) to recapture prescribed parameter sets. It was found that three storage parameters of HL-RDHM could be consistently identified using soil moisture RMSE as the objective function and that the addition of discharge-based calibration led to more consistent parameter identification for all 11 storage and release parameters. Expanding to full-basin experiments, these three calibration procedures were applied following an investigation to find the most advantageous method of distributing the point-based calibrations carried out at each pixel collocated with an IFloodS observation site. A method based on pixel similarity was deemed most appropriate for this purpose. Additionally, streamflow simulations calibrated with soil moisture showed improvement in RMSE and Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) for all calibration–validation events despite a short calibration period, a promising result when considering calibration of ungauged basins. However, supplementary evaluation metrics show mixed results for streamflow simulations, suggesting further investigation is required.

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Phu Nguyen, Andrea Thorstensen, Soroosh Sorooshian, Kuolin Hsu, and Amir AghaKouchak

Abstract

Floods are among the most devastating natural hazards in society. Flood forecasting is crucially important in order to provide warnings in time to protect people and properties from such disasters. This research applied the high-resolution coupled hydrologic–hydraulic model from the University of California, Irvine, named HiResFlood-UCI, to simulate the historical 2008 Iowa flood. HiResFlood-UCI was forced with the near-real-time Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information Using Artificial Neural Networks–Cloud Classification System (PERSIANN-CCS) and NEXRAD Stage 2 precipitation data. The model was run using the a priori hydrologic parameters and hydraulic Manning n values from lookup tables. The model results were evaluated in two aspects: point comparison using USGS streamflow and areal validation of inundation maps using USDA’s flood extent maps derived from Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS) 56-m resolution imagery. The results show that the PERSIANN-CCS simulation tends to capture the observed hydrograph shape better than Stage 2 (minimum correlation of 0.86 for PERSIANN-CCS and 0.72 for Stage 2); however, at most of the stream gauges, Stage 2 simulation provides more accurate estimates of flood peaks compared to PERSIANN-CCS (49%–90% bias reduction from PERSIANN-CCS to Stage 2). The simulation in both cases shows a good agreement (0.67 and 0.73 critical success index for Stage 2 and PERSIANN-CCS simulations, respectively) with the AWiFS flood extent. Since the PERSIANN-CCS simulation slightly underestimated the discharge, the probability of detection (0.93) is slightly lower than that of the Stage 2 simulation (0.97). As a trade-off, the false alarm rate for the PERSIANN-CCS simulation (0.23) is better than that of the Stage 2 simulation (0.31).

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Phu Nguyen, Andrea Thorstensen, Soroosh Sorooshian, Kuolin Hsu, Amir Aghakouchak, Hamed Ashouri, Hoang Tran, and Dan Braithwaite

Abstract

Little dispute surrounds the observed global temperature changes over the past decades. As a result, there is widespread agreement that a corresponding response in the global hydrologic cycle must exist. However, exactly how such a response manifests remains unsettled. Here we use a unique recently developed long-term satellite-based record to assess changes in precipitation across spatial scales. We show that warm climate regions exhibit decreasing precipitation trends, while arid and polar climate regions show increasing trends. At the country scale, precipitation seems to have increased in 96 countries, and decreased in 104. We also explore precipitation changes over 237 global major basins. Our results show opposing trends at different scales, highlighting the importance of spatial scale in trend analysis. Furthermore, while the increasing global temperature trend is apparent in observations, the same cannot be said for the global precipitation trend according to the high-resolution dataset, PERSIANN-CDR, used in this study.

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Hamed Ashouri, Phu Nguyen, Andrea Thorstensen, Kuo-lin Hsu, Soroosh Sorooshian, and Dan Braithwaite

Abstract

This study aims to investigate the performance of Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information Using Artificial Neural Networks–Climate Data Record (PERSIANN-CDR) in a rainfall–runoff modeling application over the past three decades. PERSIANN-CDR provides precipitation data at daily and 0.25° temporal and spatial resolutions from 1983 to present for the 60°S–60°N latitude band and 0°–360° longitude. The study is conducted in two phases over three test basins from the Distributed Hydrologic Model Intercomparison Project, phase 2 (DMIP2). In phase 1, a more recent period of time (2003–10) when other high-resolution satellite-based precipitation products are available is chosen. Precipitation evaluation analysis, conducted against stage IV gauge-adjusted radar data, shows that PERSIANN-CDR and TRMM Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) have close performances with a higher correlation coefficient for TMPA (~0.8 vs 0.75 for PERSIANN-CDR) and almost the same root-mean-square deviation (~6) for both products. TMPA and PERSIANN-CDR outperform PERSIANN, mainly because, unlike PERSIANN, TMPA and PERSIANN-CDR are gauge-adjusted precipitation products. The National Weather Service Office of Hydrologic Development Hydrology Laboratory Research Distributed Hydrologic Model (HL-RDHM) is then forced with PERSIANN, PERSIANN-CDR, TMPA, and stage IV data. Quantitative analysis using five different statistical and model efficiency measures against USGS streamflow observation show that in general in all three DMIP2 basins, the simulated hydrographs forced with PERSIANN-CDR and TMPA have close agreement. Given the promising results in the first phase, the simulation process is extended back to 1983 where only PERSIANN-CDR rainfall estimates are available. The results show that PERSIANN-CDR-derived streamflow simulations are comparable to USGS observations with correlation coefficients of ~0.67–0.73, relatively low biases (~5%–12%), and high index of agreement criterion (~0.68–0.83) between PERSIANN-CDR-simulated daily streamflow and USGS daily observations. The results prove the capability of PERSIANN-CDR in hydrological rainfall–runoff modeling application, especially for long-term streamflow simulations over the past three decades.

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Phu Nguyen, Soroosh Sorooshian, Andrea Thorstensen, Hoang Tran, Phat Huynh, Thanh Pham, Hamed Ashouri, Kuolin Hsu, Amir AghaKouchak, and Dan Braithwaite
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Phu Nguyen, Andrea Thorstensen, Soroosh Sorooshian, Qian Zhu, Hoang Tran, Hamed Ashouri, Chiyuan Miao, KuoLin Hsu, and Xiaogang Gao

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to use the PERSIANN–Climate Data Record (PERSIANN-CDR) dataset to evaluate the ability of 32 CMIP5 models in capturing the behavior of daily extreme precipitation estimates globally. The daily long-term historical global PERSIANN-CDR allows for a global investigation of eight precipitation indices that is unattainable with other datasets. Quantitative comparisons against CPC daily gauge; GPCP One-Degree Daily (GPCP1DD); and TRMM 3B42, version 7 (3B42V7), datasets show the credibility of PERSIANN-CDR to be used as the reference data for global evaluation of CMIP5 models. This work uniquely defines different study regions by partitioning global land areas into 25 groups based on continent and climate zone type. Results show that model performance in warm temperate and equatorial regions in capturing daily extreme precipitation behavior is largely mixed in terms of index RMSE and correlation, suggesting that these regions may benefit from weighted model averaging schemes or model selection as opposed to simple model averaging. The three driest climate regions (snow, polar, and arid) exhibit high correlations and low RMSE values when compared against PERSIANN-CDR estimates, with the exceptions of the cold regions showing an inability to capture the 95th and 99th percentile annual total precipitation characteristics. A comprehensive assessment of each model’s performance in each continent–climate zone defined group is provided as a guide for both model developers to target regions and processes that are not yet fully captured in certain climate types, and for climate model output users to be able to select the models and/or the study areas that may best fit their applications of interest.

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