Comparison of different efficiency criteria for hydrological model assessment
- 1Department for Geoinformatics, Hydrology and Modelling, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, Germany
- 2Department of Hydrologic Sciences, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada, USA
Abstract. The evaluation of hydrologic model behaviour and performance is commonly made and reported through comparisons of simulated and observed variables. Frequently, comparisons are made between simulated and measured streamflow at the catchment outlet. In distributed hydrological modelling approaches, additional comparisons of simulated and observed measurements for multi-response validation may be integrated into the evaluation procedure to assess overall modelling performance. In both approaches, single and multi-response, efficiency criteria are commonly used by hydrologists to provide an objective assessment of the "closeness" of the simulated behaviour to the observed measurements. While there are a few efficiency criteria such as the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency, coefficient of determination, and index of agreement that are frequently used in hydrologic modeling studies and reported in the literature, there are a large number of other efficiency criteria to choose from. The selection and use of specific efficiency criteria and the interpretation of the results can be a challenge for even the most experienced hydrologist since each criterion may place different emphasis on different types of simulated and observed behaviours. In this paper, the utility of several efficiency criteria is investigated in three examples using a simple observed streamflow hydrograph.