Calibration of hydrological models using TOPEX/Poseidon radar altimetry observations

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Sun, W. ; Song, H. ; Cheng, T. ; Yu, J. (2015)

This paper describes an approach for calibrating hydrological models using satellite radar altimetric observations of river water level at the basin outlet, aiming at providing a new direction for solving the calibration problem in ungauged basins where streamflow observations are unavailable. The methodology is illustrated by a case study in the Upper Mississippi basin. The water level data are derived from the TOPEX/Poseidon (T/P) satellite. The Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation (GLUE) method is employed for model calibration and uncertainty analysis. The Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency of averaged simulated streamflow by behavioural parameter sets is 64.50%. And the uncertainty bounds of the ensemble simulation embrace about 65% of daily streamflow. These results indicate that the hydrological model has been calibrated effectively. At the same time, comparison with traditional calibration using streamflow data illustrates that the proposed method is only valuable for applications in ungauged basins.
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