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Hydrology 2015, 2(4), 289-317; doi:10.3390/hydrology2040289

Performance and Uncertainty Evaluation of Snow Models on Snowmelt Flow Simulations over a Nordic Catchment (Mistassibi, Canada)

Department of Construction Engineering, École de technologie supérieure, Université du Québec, 1100 Notre-Dame Street West, Montréal, QC H3C 1K3, Canada
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Juraj Parajka, Cécile Ménard and Ladislav Holko
Received: 5 October 2015 / Revised: 12 November 2015 / Accepted: 17 November 2015 / Published: 27 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snow Hydrology)
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Abstract

An analysis of hydrological response to a multi-model approach based on an ensemble of seven snow models (SM; degree-day and mixed degree-day/energy balance models) coupled with three hydrological models (HM) is presented for a snowmelt-dominated basin in Canada. The present study aims to compare the performance and the reliability of different types of SM-HM combinations at simulating snowmelt flows over the 1961–2000 historical period. The multi-model approach also allows evaluating the uncertainties associated with the structure of the SM-HM ensemble to better predict river flows in Nordic environments. The 20-year calibration shows a satisfactory performance of the ensemble of 21 SM-HM combinations at simulating daily discharges and snow water equivalents (SWEs), with low streamflow volume biases. The validation of the ensemble of 21 SM-HM combinations is conducted over a 20-year period. Performances are similar to the calibration in simulating the daily discharges and SWEs, again with low model biases for streamflow. The spring-snowmelt-generated peak flow is captured only in timing by the ensemble of 21 SM-HM combinations. The results of specific hydrologic indicators show that the uncertainty related to the choice of the given HM in the SM-HM combinations cannot be neglected in a more quantitative manner in simulating snowmelt flows. The selection of the SM plays a larger role than the choice of the SM approach (degree-day versus mixed degree-day/energy balance) in simulating spring flows. Overall, the snow models provide a low degree of uncertainty to the total uncertainty in hydrological modeling for snow hydrology studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: snow models; hydrological models; snowmelt; uncertainty; Canada snow models; hydrological models; snowmelt; uncertainty; Canada
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Troin, M.; Arsenault, R.; Brissette, F. Performance and Uncertainty Evaluation of Snow Models on Snowmelt Flow Simulations over a Nordic Catchment (Mistassibi, Canada). Hydrology 2015, 2, 289-317.

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