This paper investigates the prediction of different streamflow characteristics in ungauged catchments and under climate change, with three rainfall-runoff models calibrated against three different objective criteria, using a large data set from 780 catchments across Australia. The results indicate that medium and high flows are relatively easier to predict, suggesting that using a single unique set of parameter values from model calibration against an objective criterion like the Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency is generally adequate and desirable to provide a consistent simulation and interpretation of daily streamflow series and the different medium and high flow characteristics. However, the low flow characteristics are considerably more difficult to predict and will require careful modelling consideration to specifically target the low flow characteristic of interest. The modelling results also show that different rainfall-runoff models and different calibration approaches can give significantly different predictions of climate change impact on streamflow characteristics, particularly for characteristics beyond the long-term averages. Predicting the hydrological impact from climate change, therefore, requires careful modelling consideration and calibration against appropriate objective criteria that specifically target the streamflow characteristic that is being assessed.
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