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Article

Catchment Scale Evaluation of Multiple Global Hydrological Models from ISIMIP2a over North America

1
Hydrology, Climate and Climate Change Laboratory, École de Technologie Supérieure, Université du Québec, 1100 Notre-Dame Street West, Montreal, QC H3C1K3, Canada
2
HydroClimat—TVT, Maison du Numérique et de l’Innovation, Place Georges Pompidou, 83 000 Toulon, France
3
Ouranos, 550 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, QC H3A 1B9, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Post
Water 2021, 13(21), 3112; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213112
Received: 1 October 2021 / Revised: 28 October 2021 / Accepted: 2 November 2021 / Published: 4 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
A satisfactory performance of hydrological models under historical climate conditions is considered a prerequisite step in any hydrological climate change impact study. Despite the significant interest in global hydrological modeling, few systematic evaluations of global hydrological models (gHMs) at the catchment scale have been carried out. This study investigates the performance of 4 gHMs driven by 4 global observation-based meteorological inputs at simulating weekly discharges over 198 large-sized North American catchments for the 1971–2010 period. The 16 discharge simulations serve as the basis for evaluating gHM accuracy at the catchment scale within the second phase of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP2a). The simulated discharges by the four gHMs are compared against observed and simulated weekly discharge values by two regional hydrological models (rHMs) driven by a global meteorological dataset for the same period. We discuss the implications of both modeling approaches as well as the influence of catchment characteristics and global meteorological forcing in terms of model performance through statistical criteria and visual hydrograph comparison for catchment-scale hydrological studies. Overall, the gHM discharge statistics exhibit poor agreement with observations at the catchment scale and manifest considerable bias and errors in seasonal flow simulations. We confirm that the gHM approach, as experimentally implemented through the ISIMIP2a, must be used with caution for regional studies. We find the rHM approach to be more trustworthy and recommend using it for hydrological studies, especially if findings are intended to support operational decision-making. View Full-Text
Keywords: global hydrological modeling; regional hydrological modeling; multi-model; intercomparison study; catchment-scale assessment; North America global hydrological modeling; regional hydrological modeling; multi-model; intercomparison study; catchment-scale assessment; North America
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MDPI and ACS Style

Troin, M.; Arsenault, R.; Fournier, E.; Brissette, F. Catchment Scale Evaluation of Multiple Global Hydrological Models from ISIMIP2a over North America. Water 2021, 13, 3112. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213112

AMA Style

Troin M, Arsenault R, Fournier E, Brissette F. Catchment Scale Evaluation of Multiple Global Hydrological Models from ISIMIP2a over North America. Water. 2021; 13(21):3112. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213112

Chicago/Turabian Style

Troin, Magali, Richard Arsenault, Elyse Fournier, and François Brissette. 2021. "Catchment Scale Evaluation of Multiple Global Hydrological Models from ISIMIP2a over North America" Water 13, no. 21: 3112. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213112

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