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Multi-Objective Calibration of a Distributed Hydrological Model in a Highly Glacierized Watershed in Central Asia

1
State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(3), 554; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030554
Received: 4 February 2019 / Revised: 12 March 2019 / Accepted: 13 March 2019 / Published: 17 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Related Disaster and Water Environment Management)
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Abstract

Understanding glacio-hydrological processes is crucial to water resources management, especially under increasing global warming. However, data scarcity makes it challenging to quantify the contribution of glacial melt to streamflow in highly glacierized catchments such as those in the Tienshan Mountains. This study aims to investigate the glacio-hydrological processes in the SaryDjaz-Kumaric River (SDKR) basin in Central Asia by integrating a degree-day glacier melt algorithm into the macro-scale hydrological Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. To deal with data scarcity in the alpine area, a multi-objective sensitivity analysis and a multi-objective calibration procedure were used to take advantage of all aspects of streamflow. Three objective functions, i.e., the Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient of logarithms (LogNS), the water balance index (WBI), and the mean absolute relative difference (MARD), were considered. Results show that glacier and snow melt-related parameters are generally sensitive to all three objective functions. Compared to the original SWAT model, simulations with a glacier module match fairly well to the observed streamflow, with the Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient (NS) and R2 approaching 0.82 and an absolute percentage bias less than 1%. Glacier melt contribution to runoff is 30–48% during the simulation period. The approach of combining multi-objective sensitivity analysis and optimization is an efficient way to identify important hydrological processes and recharge characteristics in highly glacierized catchments. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrological modeling; glacio-hydrological process; sensitivity analysis; multi-objective calibration; Central Asia hydrological modeling; glacio-hydrological process; sensitivity analysis; multi-objective calibration; Central Asia
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Ji, H.; Fang, G.; Yang, J.; Chen, Y. Multi-Objective Calibration of a Distributed Hydrological Model in a Highly Glacierized Watershed in Central Asia. Water 2019, 11, 554.

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