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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2015-12-21
    Description: Heterogeneity of landscape features like terrain, soil, and vegetation properties affect the partitioning of water and energy. However, it remains unclear to which extent an explicit representation of this heterogeneity at the sub-grid scale of distributed hydrological models can improve the hydrological consistency and the robustness of such models. In this study, hydrological process complexity arising from sub-grid topography heterogeneity was incorporated in the distributed mesoscale Hydrologic Model (mHM). Seven study catchments across Europe were used to test whether (1) the incorporation of additional sub-grid variability on the basis of landscape-derived response units improves model internal dynamics, (2) the application of semi-quantitative, expert-knowledge based model constraints reduces model uncertainty; and (3) the combined use of sub-grid response units and model constraints improves the spatial transferability of the model. Unconstrained and constrained versions of both, the original mHM and mHMtopo, which allows for topography-based sub-grid heterogeneity, were calibrated for each catchment individually following a multi-objective calibration strategy. In addition, four of the study catchments were simultaneously calibrated and their feasible parameter sets were transferred to the remaining three receiver catchments. In a post-calibration evaluation procedure the probabilities of model and transferability improvement, when accounting for sub-grid variability and/or applying expert-knowledge based model constraints, were assessed on the basis of a set of hydrological signatures. In terms of the Euclidian distance to the optimal model, used as overall measure for model performance with respect to the individual signatures, the model improvement achieved by introducing sub-grid heterogeneity to mHM in mHMtopo was on average 13 %. The addition of semi-quantitative constraints to mHM and mHMtopo resulted in improvements of 13 and 19 % respectively, compared to the base case of the unconstrained mHM. Most significant improvements in signature representations were, in particular, achieved for low flow statistics. The application of prior semi-quantitative constraints further improved the partitioning between runoff and evaporative fluxes. Besides, it was shown that suitable semi-quantitative prior constraints in combination with the transfer function based regularization approach of mHM, can be beneficial for spatial model transferability as the Euclidian distances for the signatures improved on average by 2 %. The effect of semi-quantitative prior constraints combined with topography-guided sub-grid heterogeneity on transferability showed a more variable picture of improvements and deteriorations, but most improvements were observed for low flow statistics.
    Print ISSN: 1812-2108
    Electronic ISSN: 1812-2116
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2017-08-10
    Description: There is growing evidence that climate change will alter water availability in Europe. Here, we investigate how hydrological low flows are affected under different levels of future global warming (i.e., 1.5, 2 and 3 K). The analysis is based on a multi-model ensemble of 45 hydrological simulations based on three RCPs (rcp2p6, rcp6p0, rcp8p5), five CMIP5 GCMs (GFDL-ESM2M, HadGEM2-ES, IPSL-CM5A-LR, MIROC-ESM-CHEM, NorESM1-M) and three state-of-the-art hydrological models (HMs: mHM, Noah-MP, and PCR-GLOBWB). High resolution model results are available at the unprecedented spatial resolution of 5 km across the pan-European domain at daily temporal resolution. Low river flow is described as the percentile of daily streamflow that is exceeded 90 % of the time. It is determined separately for each GCM/HM combinations and the warming scenarios. The results show that the change signal amplifies with increasing warming levels. Low flows decrease in the Mediterranean while they increase in the Alpine and Northern regions. In the Mediterranean, the level of warming amplifies the signal from −12 % under 1.5 K to −35 % under 3 K global warming largely due to the projected decreases in annual precipitation. In contrast, the signal is amplified from +22 % (1.5 K) to +45 % (3 K) in the Alpine region because of the reduced snow melt contribution. The changes in low flows are significant for regions with relatively large change signals and under higher levels of warming. Nevertheless, it is not possible to distinguish climate induced differences in low flows between 1.5 and 2 K warming because of the large variability inherent in the multi-model ensemble. The contribution by the GCMs to the uncertainty in the model results is generally higher than the one by the HMs. However, the uncertainty due to HMs cannot be neglected. In the Alpine and Northern region as well as the Mediterranean, the uncertainty contribution by the HMs is partly higher than those by the GCMs due to different representations of processes such as snow, soil moisture and evapotranspiration.
    Print ISSN: 1812-2108
    Electronic ISSN: 1812-2116
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-06-01
    Description: Most large-scale hydrologic models fall short in reproducing groundwater head dynamics and simulating transport process due to their oversimplified representation of groundwater flow. In this study, we aim to extend the applicability of the mesoscale Hydrologic Model (mHM v5.7) to subsurface hydrology by coupling it with the porous media simulator OpenGeoSys (OGS). The two models are one-way coupled through model interfaces GIS2FEM and RIV2FEM, by which the grid-based fluxes of groundwater recharge and the river–groundwater exchange generated by mHM are converted to fixed-flux boundary conditions of the groundwater model OGS. Specifically, the grid-based vertical reservoirs in mHM are completely preserved for the estimation of land-surface fluxes, while OGS acts as a plug-in to the original mHM modeling framework for groundwater flow and transport modeling. The applicability of the coupled model (mHM–OGS v1.0) is evaluated by a case study in the central European mesoscale river basin – Nägelstedt. Different time steps, i.e., daily in mHM and monthly in OGS, are used to account for fast surface flow and slow groundwater flow. Model calibration is conducted following a two-step procedure using discharge for mHM and long-term mean of groundwater head measurements for OGS. Based on the model summary statistics, namely the Nash–Sutcliffe model efficiency (NSE), the mean absolute error (MAE), and the interquartile range error (QRE), the coupled model is able to satisfactorily represent the dynamics of discharge and groundwater heads at several locations across the study basin. Our exemplary calculations show that the one-way coupled model can take advantage of the spatially explicit modeling capabilities of surface and groundwater hydrologic models and provide an adequate representation of the spatiotemporal behaviors of groundwater storage and heads, thus making it a valuable tool for addressing water resources and management problems.
    Print ISSN: 1991-959X
    Electronic ISSN: 1991-9603
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2017-09-22
    Description: Most of the current large scale hydrological models do not contain a physically-based groundwater flow component. The main difficulties in large-scale groundwater modeling include the efficient representation of unsaturated zone flow, the characterization of dynamic groundwater-surface water interaction and the numerical stability while preserving complex physical processes and high resolution. To address these problems, we propose a highly-scalable coupled hydrologic and groundwater model (mHM#OGS) based on the integration of two open-source modeling codes: the mesoscale hydrologic Model (mHM) and the finite element simulator OpenGeoSys (OGS). mHM#OGS is coupled using a boundary condition-based coupling scheme that dynamically links the surface and subsurface parts. Nested time stepping allows smaller time steps for typically faster surface runoff routing in mHM and larger time steps for slower subsurface flow in OGS. mHM#OGS features the coupling interface which can transfer the groundwater recharge and river baseflow rate between mHM and OpenGeoSys. Verification of the coupled model was conducted using the time-series of observed streamflow and groundwater levels. Moreover, we force the transient model using groundwater recharge in two scenarios: (1) spatially variable recharge based on the mHM simulations, and (2) spatially homogeneous groundwater recharge. The modeling result in first scenario has a slightly higher correlation with groundwater head time-series, which further validates the plausibility of spatial groundwater recharge distribution calculated by mHM in the mesocale. The statistical analysis of model predictions shows a promising prediction ability of the model. The offline coupling method implemented here can reproduce reasonable groundwater head time series while keep a desired level of detail in the subsurface model structure with little surplus in computational cost. Our exemplary calculations show that the coupled model mHM#OGS can be a valuable tool to assess the effects of variability in land surface heterogeneity, meteorological, topographical forces and geological zonation on the groundwater flow dynamics.
    Print ISSN: 1991-9611
    Electronic ISSN: 1991-962X
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2017-09-19
    Description: Hourly NOx concentrations were simulated for the city of Zürich, Switzerland, at 10m resolution for the years 2013–2014. The simulations were generated with the nested mesoscale meteorology and micro-scale dispersion model system GRAMM–GRAL (versions v15.12 and v14.8) by applying a catalogue-based approach. This approach was specifically designed to enable long-term city-wide building-resolving simulations with affordable computation costs. It relies on a discrete set of possible weather situations and corresponding steady-state flow and dispersion patterns that are pre-computed and then matched hourly with actual meteorological observations. The modelling system was comprehensively evaluated using eight sites continuously monitoring NOx concentrations and 65 passive samplers measuring NO2 concentrations on a 2-weekly basis all over the city. The system was demonstrated to fulfil the European Commission standards for air pollution modelling at nearly all sites. The average spatial distribution was very well represented, despite a general tendency to overestimate the observed concentrations, possibly due to a crude representation of traffic-induced turbulence and to underestimated dispersion in the vicinity of buildings. The temporal variability of concentrations explained by varying emissions and weather situations was accurately reproduced on different timescales. The seasonal cycle of concentrations, mostly driven by stronger vertical dispersion in summer than in winter, was very well captured in the 2-year simulation period. Short-term events, such as episodes of particularly high and low concentrations, were detected in most cases by the system, although some unrealistic pollution peaks were occasionally generated, pointing at some limitations of the steady-state approximation. The different patterns of the diurnal cycle of concentrations observed in the city were generally well captured as well. The evaluation confirmed the adequacy of the catalogue-based approach in the context of city-scale air pollution modelling. The ability to reproduce not only the spatial gradients but also the hourly temporal variability over multiple years makes the model system particularly suitable for investigating individualized air pollution exposure in the city.
    Print ISSN: 1991-959X
    Electronic ISSN: 1991-9603
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Media such as television, newspapers and social media play a key role in the communication between scientists and the general public. Communicating your science via the media can be positive and rewarding by providing the inherent joy of sharing your knowledge with a broader audience, promoting science as a fundamental part of culture and society, impacting decision- and policy-makers, and giving you a greater recognition by institutions, colleagues and funders. However, the interaction between scientists and journalists is not always straightforward. For instance, scientists may not always be able to translate their work into a compelling story, and journalists may sometimes misinterpret scientific output. In this paper, we present insights from hydrologists and journalists discussing the advantages and benefits as well as the potential pitfalls and aftermath of science–media interaction. As we perceive interacting with the media as a rewarding and essential part of our work, we aim to encourage scientists to participate in the diverse and evolving media landscape. With this paper, we call on the scientific community to support scientists who actively contribute to a fruitful science–media relationship.
    Print ISSN: 1027-5606
    Electronic ISSN: 1607-7938
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2017-05-03
    Description: Soil properties show high heterogeneity at different spatial scales and their correct characterization remains a crucial challenge over large areas. The aim of the study is to quantify the impact of different types of uncertainties that arise from the unresolved soil spatial variability on simulated hydrological states and fluxes. Three perturbation methods are presented for the characterization of uncertainties in soil properties. The methods are applied on the soil map of the upper Neckar catchment (Germany), as an example. The uncertainties are propagated through the distributed mesoscale hydrological model (mHM) to assess the impact on the simulated states and fluxes. The model outputs are analysed by aggregating the results at different spatial and temporal scales. These results show that the impact of the different uncertainties introduced in the original soil map is equivalent when the simulated model outputs are analysed at the model grid resolution (i.e. 500m). However, several differences are identified by aggregating states and fluxes at different spatial scales (by subcatchments of different sizes or coarsening the grid resolution). Streamflow is only sensitive to the perturbation of long spatial structures while distributed states and fluxes (e.g. soil moisture and groundwater recharge) are only sensitive to the local noise introduced to the original soil properties. A clear identification of the temporal and spatial scale for which finer-resolution soil information is (or is not) relevant is unlikely to be universal. However, the comparison of the impacts on the different hydrological components can be used to prioritize the model improvements in specific applications, either by collecting new measurements or by calibration and data assimilation approaches. In conclusion, the study underlines the importance of a correct characterization of uncertainty in soil properties. With that, soil maps with additional information regarding the unresolved soil spatial variability would provide strong support to hydrological modelling applications.
    Print ISSN: 1027-5606
    Electronic ISSN: 1607-7938
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2017-05-19
    Description: Hourly NOx concentrations were simulated for the city of Zurich, Switzerland, at 10 m resolution for the years 2013–2014. The simulations were generated with the nested mesoscale meteorology and microscale dispersion model system GRAMM/GRAL (versions v15.12/v14.8) by applying a catalogue-based approach. This approach was specifically designed to enable long-term city-wide building-resolving simulations with affordable computation costs. It relies on a discrete set of possible weather situations and corresponding steady-state flow and dispersion patterns that are pre-computed and then matched hourly with actual meteorological observations. The modelling system was comprehensively evaluated using eight sites continuously monitoring NOx concentrations and 65 passive samplers measuring NO2 concentrations on a 2-weekly basis all over the city. The system was demonstrated to fulfil the European Commission standards for air pollution modelling at nearly all sites. The average spatial distribution was very well represented, despite a general tendency to overestimating the observed concentrations, possibly due to a crude representation of traffic-induced turbulence. The temporal variability of concentrations explained by varying emissions and weather situations was accurately reproduced on different time scales. The seasonal cycle of concentrations, mostly driven by stronger vertical dispersion in summer than in winter, was very well captured in the two year simulation period. Short-term events, such as episodes of particularly high and low concentrations, were detected in most cases by the system, although some unrealistic pollution peaks were occasionally generated, pointing at some limitations of the steady-state approximation. The different patterns of the diurnal cycle of concentrations observed in the city were generally well captured as well. The evaluation confirmed the adequacy of the catalogue-based approach in the context of city scale air pollution modelling. The ability to reproduce not only the spatial gradients but also the hourly temporal variability over multiple years makes the model system particularly suitable for investigating individualized air pollution exposure in the city.
    Print ISSN: 1991-9611
    Electronic ISSN: 1991-962X
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-01-19
    Description: Media such as television, newspapers and social media play a key role in the communication between scientists and the general public. Communicating your science via the media can be positive and rewarding by providing the inherent joy of sharing your knowledge with a broader audience, promoting science as a fundamental part of culture and society, impacting decision and policy makers, and giving you a greater recognition by institutions, colleagues and funders. However, the interaction between scientists and journalists is not always straightforward. For instance, scientists may not always be able to translate their work into a compelling story, and journalists may sometimes misinterpret scientific output. In this paper, we present insights from hydrologists and journalists discussing the advantages and benefits as well as the potential pitfalls and aftermath of science-media interaction. As we perceive interacting with the media as a rewarding and essential part of our work, we aim to encourage scientists to participate in the diverse and evolving media landscape. With this paper, we call on the scientific community to support scientists who actively contribute to a fruitful science-media relationship.
    Print ISSN: 1812-2108
    Electronic ISSN: 1812-2116
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2017-03-06
    Description: Land surface and hydrologic models (LSM/HM) are used at diverse spatial resolutions ranging from 1–10 km in catchment-scale applications to over 50 km in global-scale applications. Application of the same model structure at different spatial scales requires that the model estimates similar fluxes independent of the model resolution and fulfills a flux-matching condition across scales. An analysis of state-of-the-art LSMs and HMs reveals that most do not have consistent and realistic parameter fields for land surface geophysical properties. Multiple experiments with the mHM, Noah-MP, PCR-GLOBWB and WaterGAP models are conducted to demonstrate the pitfalls of poor parameterization practices currently used in most operational models, which are insufficient to satisfy the flux-matching condition. These examples demonstrate that J. Dooge's 1982 statement on the unsolved problem of parameterization in these models remains true. We provide a short review of existing parameter regionalization techniques and discuss a method for obtaining seamless hydrological predictions of water fluxes and states across multiple spatial resolutions. The multiscale parameter regionalization (MPR) technique is a practical and robust method that provides consistent (seamless) parameter and flux fields across scales. A general model protocol is presented to describe how MPR can be applied to a specific model, with an example of this application using the PCR-GLOBWB model. Applying MPR to PCR-GLOBWB substantially improves the flux-matching condition. Estimation of evapotranspiration without MPR at 5 arcmin and 30 arcmin spatial resolutions for the Rhine river basin results in a difference of approximately 29 %. Applying MPR reduce this difference to 9 %. For total soil water, the differences without and with MPR are 25 % and 7 %, respectively.
    Print ISSN: 1812-2108
    Electronic ISSN: 1812-2116
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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