Articles | Volume 29
03 Mar 2011
 | 03 Mar 2011

A comparison between ensemble and deterministic hydrological forecasts in an operational context

M.-A. Boucher, F. Anctil, L. Perreault, and D. Tremblay

Abstract. Ensemble forecasts can greatly benefit water resources management as they provide useful information regarding the uncertainty of the situation at hand. However, weather forecasting systems are evolving and the cost for reanalysis and reforecasts is prohibitive. Consequently, series of ensemble weather forecasts from a particular version of the forecasting system are often short. In this case study, we consider a hydrological event that took place in 2003 on the Gatineau watershed in Canada and caused management difficulties in a hydropower production context. The weather ensemble forecasting system in place at that time is now obsolete, but we show that with minimal post-processing of the forecasts, it is still beneficial to exploit ensemble rather than deterministic forecasts, even if the latter emerge from a more advanced meteorological model and possess superior spatial resolution.