A limits of acceptability approach to model evaluation and uncertainty estimation in flood frequency estimation by continuous simulation: Skalka catchment, Czech Republic
In this study continuous simulation flood frequency predictions on the Skalka catchment in the Czech Republic (672 km 2, range of altitudes from 460 to 1041 m above sea level), are compared against summary information of rainfall characteristics, the flow duration curve, and the frequency characteristics of flood discharges and snow water equivalent using the generalized likelihood uncertainty estimation limits of acceptability approach outlined by Beven (2006). Limits of acceptability have been defined, prior to running the Monte Carlo model realizations for subcatchment rainfalls, discharges (using rating data) at 5 sites within the catchment, and snow water equivalent in 13 snow zones, 4 of which have observed data. Flood frequency and flow duration data at the outlet of the whole catchment are not used in the evaluation but are used to test the predictions. In order to get sufficient behavioral models to assess adequately the prediction uncertainty it was necessary to refine the model structure, sample the model space more densely, and, in the end, relax the limits of acceptability to allow for a strong realization effect in predicted flood frequencies. We use a procedure of scoring deviations relative to the limits of acceptability to identify the minimum extension of the limits across all criteria to obtain a sample of 4192 parameter sets that were accepted as potentially useful in prediction. Results show that individual model realizations, with the same parameter values, of similar length to the observations can vary significantly in acceptability. Long-term simulations of 10,000 years for retained models were used to obtain uncertain estimates of the 1000 year peak and associated flood hydrographs required for the assessment of dam safety at the catchment outlet.