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Open AccessArticle

Calibration of a Distributed Hydrological Model in a Data-Scarce Basin Based on GLEAM Datasets

by Xin Jin 1,2 and Yanxiang Jin 1,2,*
1
School of Geographical Science, Qinghai Normal University; Key Laboratory of Physical Geography and Environmental Processes; MOE Key Laboratory of Tibetan Plateau Land Surface Processes and Ecological Conservation, Xining 810016, China
2
Academy of Plateau Science and Sustainability, Xining 810016, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(3), 897; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030897 (registering DOI)
Received: 12 February 2020 / Revised: 18 March 2020 / Accepted: 19 March 2020 / Published: 22 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Hydrologic Modeling in Watershed-Scale)
The calibration of hydrological models is often complex in regions with scarce data, and generally only uses site-based streamflow data. However, this approach will yield highly generalised values for all model parameters and hydrological processes. It is therefore necessary to obtain more spatially heterogeneous observation data (e.g., satellite-based evapotranspiration (ET)) to calibrate such hydrological models. Here, soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) models were built to evaluate the advantages of using ET data derived from the Global Land surface Evaporation Amsterdam Methodology (GLEAM) to calibrate the models for the Bayinhe River basin in northwest China, which is a typical data-scarce basin. The result revealed the following: (1) A great effort was required to calibrate the SWAT models for the study area to obtain an improved model performance. (2) The SWAT model performance for simulating the streamflow and water balance was reliable when calibrated with streamflow only, but this method of calibration grouped the hydrological processes together and caused an equifinality issue. (3) The combination of the streamflow and GLEAM-based ET data for calibrating the SWAT model improved the model performance for simulating the streamflow and water balance. However, the equifinality issue remained at the hydrologic response unit (HRU) level. View Full-Text
Keywords: SWAT; GLEAM; ET; streamflow SWAT; GLEAM; ET; streamflow
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Jin, X.; Jin, Y. Calibration of a Distributed Hydrological Model in a Data-Scarce Basin Based on GLEAM Datasets. Water 2020, 12, 897.

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