Journal article

Simulating runoff under changing climatic conditions: Revisiting an apparent deficiency of conceptual rainfall-runoff models

Keirnan JA Fowler, Murray C Peel, Andrew W Western, Lu Zhang, Tim J Peterson



Hydrologic models have potential to be useful tools in planning for future climate variability. However, recent literature suggests that the current generation of conceptual rainfall runoff models tend to underestimate the sensitivity of runoff to a given change in rainfall, leading to poor performance when evaluated over multiyear droughts. This research revisited this conclusion, investigating whether the observed poor performance could be due to insufficient model calibration and evaluation techniques. We applied an approach based on Pareto optimality to explore trade-offs between model performance in different climatic conditions. Five conceptual rainfall runoff model structures were tes..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Australian Government in carrying out this work. Specifically, Keirnan Fowler's work was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award and Murray Peel is the recipient of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT120100130). Streamflow data used in this project were from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM) Hydrologic Reference Station project website [Turner, 2012], Rainfall data were from the Australian Water Availability Project (AWAP) project [Jones et al., 2009], Potential evapotranspiration data were from the SILO project [Jeffrey et al., 2011], The authors appreciate the work of the three anonymous reviewers and one Associate Editor whose feedback greatly improved the quality of the article.