Journal article

Hydrological model performance and parameter estimation in the wavelet-domain

This paper proposes a method for rainfall-runoff model calibration and performance analysis in the wavelet-domain by fitting the estimated wavelet-power spectrum (a representation of the time-varying frequency content of a time series) of a simulated discharge series to the one of the corresponding observed time series. As discussed in this paper, calibrating hydrological models so as to reproduce the time-varying frequency content of the observed signal can lead to different results than parameter estimation in the time-domain. Therefore, wavelet-domain parameter estimation has the potential to give new insights into model performance and to reveal model structural deficiencies. We apply the proposed method to synthetic case studies and a real-world discharge modeling case study and discuss how model diagnosis can benefit from an analysis in the wavelet-domain. The results show that for the real-world case study of precipitation - runoff modeling for a high alpine catchment, the calibrated discharge simulation captures the dynamics of the observed time series better than the results obtained through calibration in the time-domain. In addition, the wavelet-domain performance assessment of this case study highlights the frequencies that are not well reproduced by the model, which gives specific indications about how to improve the model structure.

Related material