Effect of Using Multi-Year Land Use Land Cover and Monthly LAI Inputs on the Calibration of a Distributed Hydrologic Model

Ibrahim Olayode Busari, Mehmet Cüneyd Demirel, and Alice Newton

Effective management of water resources entails the understanding of spatiotemporal changes in hydrologic fluxes with variation in land use, especially with a growing trend of urbanization, agricultural lands and non-stationarity of climate. This study explores the use of satellite-based Land Use Land Cover (LULC) data while simultaneously correcting potential evapotranspiration (PET) input with Leaf Area Index (LAI) to increase the performance of a physically distributed hydrologic model. The mesoscale hydrologic model (mHM) was selected for this purpose due to its unique features. Since LAI input informs the model about vegetation dynamics, we incorporated the LAI based PET correction option together with multi-year LULC data. The Globcover land cover data was selected for the single land cover cases, and hybrid of CORINE (coordination of information on the environment) and MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) land cover datasets were chosen for the cases with multiple land cover datasets. These two datasets complement each other since MODIS has no separate forest class but more frequent (yearly) observations than CORINE. Calibration period spans from 1990 to 2006 and corresponding NSE (Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency) values varies between 0.23 and 0.42, while the validation period spans from 2007 to 2010 and corresponding NSE values are between 0.13 and 0.39. The results revealed that the best performance is obtained when multiple land cover datasets are provided to the model and LAI data is used to correct PET, instead of default aspect-based PET correction in mHM. This study suggests that to minimize errors due to parameter uncertainties in physically distributed hydrologic models, adequate information can be supplied to the model with care taken to avoid over-parameterizing the model.



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