Synthetic Calibration of a Rainfall-Runoff Model

by David B. Thompson, US Geological Survey, United States,
Jerome A. Westphal, US Geological Survey, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering

Abstract: A method for synthetically calibrating storm-mode parameters for the U.S. Geological Survey's Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System is described. Synthetic calibration is accomplished by adjusting storm-mode parameters to minimize deviations between the pseudo-probability disributions represented by regional regression equations and actual frequency distributions fitted to model-generated peak discharge and runoff volume. Results of modeling storm hydrographs using synthetic and analytic storm-mode parameters are presented. Comparisons are made between model results from both parameter sets and between model results and observed hydrographs. Although mean storm runoff is reproducible to within about 26 percent of the observed mean storm runoff for five or six parameter sets, runoff from individual storms is subject to large disparities. Predicted storm runoff volume ranged from 2 percent to 217 percent of commensurate observed values. Furthermore, simulation of peak discharges was poor. Predicted peak discharges from individual storm events ranged from 2 percent to 229 percent of commensurate observed values. The model was incapable of satisfactorily executing storm-mode simulations for the study watersheds. This result is not considered a particular fault of the model, but instead is indicative of deficiencies in similar conceptual models.

Subject Headings: Hydrologic models | Mathematical models | Runoff | Storms | Parameters (statistics) | Calibration | Water discharge | Rainfall-runoff relationships

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