Influence of bias correction of meteorological and streamflow forecast on hydrological prediction in India

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  • 1 Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar
  • | 2 Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Ministry of Earth Sciences, Dr Homi Bhabha Road, Pune
  • | 3 Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar
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Abstract

The efforts to develop a hydrologic model-based operational streamflow forecast in India are limited. We evaluate the role of bias correction of meteorological forecast and streamflow post-processing on hydrological prediction skill in India. We use the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model to simulate runoff and root zone soil moisture in the Narmada basin (drainage area: 97,410 km2), which was used as a testbed to examine the forecast skill along with the observed streamflow. We evaluated meteorological and hydrological forecasts during the monsoon (June-September) season for 2000-2018 period. The raw meteorological forecast displayed relatively low skill against the observed precipitation at 1-3 day lead time during the monsoon season. Similarly, the forecast skill was low with mean normalized root mean squared error (NRMSE) more than 0.9 and mean absolute bias larger than 60% for extreme precipitation at the 1-3-day lead time. We used Empirical Quantile Mapping (EQM) to bias correct precipitation forecast. The bias correction of precipitation forecast resulted in significant improvement in the precipitation forecast skill. Runoff and root zone soil moisture forecast was also significantly improved due to bias correction of precipitation forecast where the forecast evaluation is performed against the reference model run. However, bias correction of precipitation forecast did not cause considerable improvement in the streamflow prediction. Bias correction of streamflow forecast performs better than the streamflow forecast simulated using the bias-corrected meteorological forecast. The combination of the bias correction of precipitation forecast and post-processing of streamflow resulted in a significant improvement in the streamflow prediction (reduction in bias from 40% to 5%).

Corresponding Author: vmishra@iitgn.ac.in

Abstract

The efforts to develop a hydrologic model-based operational streamflow forecast in India are limited. We evaluate the role of bias correction of meteorological forecast and streamflow post-processing on hydrological prediction skill in India. We use the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model to simulate runoff and root zone soil moisture in the Narmada basin (drainage area: 97,410 km2), which was used as a testbed to examine the forecast skill along with the observed streamflow. We evaluated meteorological and hydrological forecasts during the monsoon (June-September) season for 2000-2018 period. The raw meteorological forecast displayed relatively low skill against the observed precipitation at 1-3 day lead time during the monsoon season. Similarly, the forecast skill was low with mean normalized root mean squared error (NRMSE) more than 0.9 and mean absolute bias larger than 60% for extreme precipitation at the 1-3-day lead time. We used Empirical Quantile Mapping (EQM) to bias correct precipitation forecast. The bias correction of precipitation forecast resulted in significant improvement in the precipitation forecast skill. Runoff and root zone soil moisture forecast was also significantly improved due to bias correction of precipitation forecast where the forecast evaluation is performed against the reference model run. However, bias correction of precipitation forecast did not cause considerable improvement in the streamflow prediction. Bias correction of streamflow forecast performs better than the streamflow forecast simulated using the bias-corrected meteorological forecast. The combination of the bias correction of precipitation forecast and post-processing of streamflow resulted in a significant improvement in the streamflow prediction (reduction in bias from 40% to 5%).

Corresponding Author: vmishra@iitgn.ac.in
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