Implementing a Proxy-Basin Strategy to Assess the Transposability of a Hydrological Model in Geographically Similar Catchments


SUSTAINABILITY, vol.13, no.20, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 20
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/su132011393
  • Title of Journal : SUSTAINABILITY
  • Keywords: proxy-catchment differential split-sample, hydrological modelling, transposability, Buyuk Menderes Watershed, calibration, RUNOFF GENERATION, TRANSFERABILITY, PARAMETERS, STREAMFLOWS, CALIBRATION, RAINFALL, SCALE, LAND


Hydrological modelling is the most common way to investigate the spatial and temporal distribution of regional water resources. The reliability and uncertainty of a model depend on the efficient calibration of hydrological parameters. However, in complex regions where several subcatchments are defined, calibration of parameters is often difficult due to a lack of observed data. The transposability of hydrological models is of critical importance for assessing hydrological effects of land use and climatic changes in ungauged watersheds. Our study implemented a Proxy-Catchment Differential Split-Sample (PBDSS) strategy to assess the transposability of the conceptual hydrological model J2000 in three different subcatchments with similar physiographic conditions in Western Turkey. For dry and wet scenarios, the model was calibrated and validated for five years (2013-2017) in two selected catchments (Kayirli and Ulubey). Afterwards, it was validated by predicting the streamflow in the Amasya catchment, which has similar physical and climatic characteristics. The approach comprises transferring J2000 model parameters between different catchments, adjusting parameters to reflect the prevailing catchment characteristics, and validating without calibration. The objective functions showed a reliable model performance with Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency (E) ranging from 0.72 to 0.82 when predicting streamflow in the study subcatchments for wet and dry conditions. An uncertainty analysis showed good agreement between the ensemble mean and measured runoff, indicating that the sensitive parameters can be used to estimate discharge in ungauged catchments. Therefore, the J2000 model can be considered adequate in its transposability to physically similar subcatchments for simulating daily streamflow.