Articles | Volume 29
Adv. Geosci., 29, 21–25, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/adgeo-29-21-2011
Adv. Geosci., 29, 21–25, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/adgeo-29-21-2011

  25 Feb 2011

25 Feb 2011

Effects of temporal resolution of input precipitation on the performance of hydrological forecasting

F. Wetterhall1,2, Y. He1,3, H. Cloke1, and F. Pappenberger4 F. Wetterhall et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, King's College London, London, UK
  • 2Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Norrköping, Sweden
  • 3Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  • 4European Centre For Medium Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK

Abstract. Flood prediction systems rely on good quality precipitation input data and forecasts to drive hydrological models. Most precipitation data comes from daily stations with a good spatial coverage. However, some flood events occur on sub-daily time scales and flood prediction systems could benefit from using models calibrated on the same time scale. This study compares precipitation data aggregated from hourly stations (HP) and data disaggregated from daily stations (DP) with 6-hourly forecasts from ECMWF over the time period 1 October 2006–31 December 2009. The HP and DP data sets were then used to calibrate two hydrological models, LISFLOOD-RR and HBV, and the latter was used in a flood case study. The HP scored better than the DP when evaluated against the forecast for lead times up to 4 days. However, this was not translated in the same way to the hydrological modelling, where the models gave similar scores for simulated runoff with the two datasets. The flood forecasting study showed that both datasets gave similar hit rates whereas the HP data set gave much smaller false alarm rates (FAR). This indicates that using sub-daily precipitation in the calibration and initiation of hydrological models can improve flood forecasting.