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Water 2017, 9(11), 902; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9110902

On the Dominant Factor Controlling Seasonal Hydrological Forecast Skill in China

1
Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, College Park, MD 20740, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 September 2017 / Revised: 12 November 2017 / Accepted: 16 November 2017 / Published: 20 November 2017
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Abstract

Initial conditions (ICs) and climate forecasts (CFs) are the two primary sources of seasonal hydrological forecast skill. However, their relative contribution to predictive skill remains unclear in China. In this study, we investigate the relative roles of ICs and CFs in cumulative runoff (CR) and soil moisture (SM) forecasts using 31-year (1980–2010) ensemble streamflow prediction (ESP) and reverse-ESP (revESP) simulations with the Variable Capacity Infiltration (VIC) hydrologic model. The results show that the relative importance of ICs and CFs largely depends on climate regimes. The influence of ICs is stronger in a dry or wet-to-dry climate regime that covers the northern and western interior regions during the late fall to early summer. In particular, ICs may dominate the forecast skill for up to three months or even six months during late fall and winter months, probably due to the low precipitation value and variability in the dry period. In contrast, CFs become more important for most of southern China or during summer months. The impact of ICs on SM forecasts tends to cover larger domains than on CR forecasts. These findings will greatly benefit future work that will target efforts towards improving current forecast levels for the particular regions and forecast periods. View Full-Text
Keywords: seasonal hydrological forecasts; predictive skill; initial conditions; climate forecasts; hydro-climatic regimes seasonal hydrological forecasts; predictive skill; initial conditions; climate forecasts; hydro-climatic regimes
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Zhang, X.; Tang, Q.; Leng, G.; Liu, X.; Li, Z.; Huang, Z. On the Dominant Factor Controlling Seasonal Hydrological Forecast Skill in China. Water 2017, 9, 902.

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