Due to the improvement of computation power, in recent decades considerable progress has been made in the development of complex hydrological models. On the other hand, simple conceptual models have also been advanced. Previous studies on rainfall–runoff models have shown that model performance depends very much on the model structure. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the use of a complex hydrological model leads to more accurate results or not and to analyze whether some model structures are more efficient than others. Different configurations of the two models of different complexity, the Système Hydrologique Européen TRANsport (SHETRAN) and Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS), were compared and evaluated in simulating flash flood runoff for the small (75.9 km2
) Jičinka River catchment in the Czech Republic. The two models were compared with respect to runoff simulations at the catchment outlet and soil moisture simulations within the catchment. The results indicate that the more complex SHETRAN model outperforms the simpler HEC HMS model in case of runoff, but not for soil moisture. It can be concluded that the models with higher complexity do not necessarily provide better model performance, and that the reliability of hydrological model simulations can vary depending on the hydrological variable under consideration.
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