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Value of distributed water level and soil moisture data in the evaluation of a distributed hydrological model: Application to the PUMMA model in the Mercier catchment (6.6 km 2 ) in France

Abstract : This paper emphasizes the importance of integrating outlet discharge and observed internal variables in the evaluation of distributed hydrological models outputs. It proposes a general methodology for a diagnostic evaluation of a complex distributed hydrological model, based on discharge data at the outlet and additional distributed information such as water level and surface soil moisture data. The proposed methodology is illustrated using the PUMMA model in the Mercier sub-catchment (6.6 km 2 ). Model parameters are specified according to field data and a previous study performed in a neighbouring catchment (Jankowfsky et al., 2014), without calibration. The distributed water level and soil moisture network of sensors were useful in the model evaluation process. Thus, model parameters are specified either using in situ information or results from previous studies. A stepwise approach is used for model evaluation. It includes standard water balance assessment as well as comparison of observed and simulated outlet discharge, whether on annual or event timescales. Soil moisture sensors are used to assess the ability of the model to simulate seasonal water storage dynamics based on a normalized index. The water level sensors network is used on two timescales: on a seasonal timescale, sensors network is used to assess the model's ability to simulate intermittency; whereas on event timescales, sensors network is used in determining the model's ability to reproduce observed reaction as well as response times. Event timescales do also focus on the correlation between hydrological response and either rainfall event or antecedent soil moisture variables. Results show that the non-calibrated model is quite effective at capturing water flow and soil water-storage dynamics, but it fails to reproduce observed runoff volume during events. There is strong indication of a deficiency in the characterization of catchment storage and upstream flowpath description. The soil water content and a network of water level sensors provide interesting information about soil moisture and river flow dynamics. They however fail to provide quantitative information about catchment storage. This study opens interesting perspectives for the evaluation of distributed hydrological models using hydrological signatures. Furthermore, it highlights the requirement of quantitative as well as qualitative signatures for improving such models.
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Submitted on : Saturday, May 16, 2020 - 4:16:24 PM
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M. Fuamba, F. Branger, Isabelle Braud, E. Batchabani, P. Sanzana, et al.. Value of distributed water level and soil moisture data in the evaluation of a distributed hydrological model: Application to the PUMMA model in the Mercier catchment (6.6 km 2 ) in France. Journal of Hydrology, 2019, 569, pp.753-770. ⟨10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.12.035⟩. ⟨hal-02608494⟩

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