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Zhenghui Xie, Fei Yuan, Qingyun Duan, Jing Zheng, Miaoling Liang, and Feng Chen


This paper presents a methodology for regional parameter estimation of the three-layer Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC-3L) land surface model with the goal of improving the streamflow simulation for river basins in China. This methodology is designed to obtain model parameter estimates from a limited number of calibrated basins and then regionalize them to uncalibrated basins based on climate characteristics and large river basin domains, and ultimately to continental China. Fourteen basins from different climatic zones and large river basins were chosen for model calibration. For each of these basins, seven runoff-related model parameters were calibrated using a systematic manual calibration approach. These calibrated parameters were then transferred within the climate and large river basin zones or climatic zones to the uncalibrated basins. To test the efficiency of the parameter regionalization method, a verification study was conducted on 19 independent river basins in China. Overall, the regionalized parameters, when evaluated against the a priori parameter estimates, were able to reduce the model bias by 0.4%–249.8% and relative root-mean-squared error by 0.2%–119.1% and increase the Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency of the streamflow simulation by 1.9%–31.7% for most of the tested basins. The transferred parameters were then used to perform a hydrological simulation over all of China so as to test the applicability of the regionalized parameters on a continental scale. The continental simulation results agree well with the observations at regional scales, indicating that the tested regionalization method is a promising scheme for parameter estimation for ungauged basins in China.

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Xing Yuan, Eric F. Wood, Nathaniel W. Chaney, Justin Sheffield, Jonghun Kam, Miaoling Liang, and Kaiyu Guan


As a natural phenomenon, drought can have devastating impacts on local populations through food insecurity and famine in the developing world, such as in Africa. In this study, the authors have established a seasonal hydrologic forecasting system for Africa. The system is based on the Climate Forecast System, version 2 (CFSv2), and the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) land surface model. With a set of 26-yr (1982–2007) seasonal hydrologic hindcasts run at 0.25°, the probabilistic drought forecasts are validated using the 6-month Standard Precipitation Index (SPI6) and soil moisture percentile as indices. In terms of Brier skill score (BSS), the system is more skillful than climatology out to 3–5 months, except for the forecast of soil moisture drought over central Africa. The spatial distribution of BSS, which is similar to the pattern of persistency, shows more heterogeneity for soil moisture than the SPI6. Drought forecasts based on SPI6 are generally more skillful than for soil moisture, and their differences originate from the skill attribute of resolution rather than reliability. However, the soil moisture drought forecast can be more skillful than SPI6 at the beginning of the rainy season over western and southern Africa because of the strong annual cycle. Singular value decomposition (SVD) analysis of African precipitation and global SSTs indicates that CFSv2 reproduces the ENSO dominance on rainy season drought forecasts quite well, but the corresponding SVD mode from observations and CFSv2 only account for less than 24% and 31% of the covariance, respectively, suggesting that further understanding of drought drivers, including regional atmospheric dynamics and land–atmosphere coupling, is necessary.

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