This study compared hydrological model performances under different sub-annual calibration schemes using two conceptual models, IHACRES and HYMOD. In several publications regarding sub-annual calibration, the authors showed that such an approach generally performed better than the conventional whole period method. Hence, there are advantages in dividing the data into sub-annual periods for calibration. However, little attention has been paid to the issue of how to calibrate the non-continuous sub-annual period. Unlike the conventional calibration which assumes time-invariant parameters for the calibration period, the model parameters vary in sub-annual calibration. We have explored two sub-annual calibration schemes, serial calibration scheme (SCS) and parallel calibration scheme (PCS). We assume that the relationships between the rainfall and runoff could be different for each sub-annual period and consider intra-annual variations of the system. The models are then evaluated for a different validation period to avoid over-fitting and the optimal sub-annual calibration period is explored. Overall, we have found that PCS performed slightly better than SCS and the optimal calibration periods are seasonal and bimonthly for IHACRES and biannual for HYMOD. Since there are pros and cons in both SCS and PCS, we recommend choosing the method depending on the purpose of the model usage.
- hydrological model
- model performance
- optimal calibration period
- First received 29 March 2016.
- Accepted in revised form 12 July 2016.
- © IWA Publishing 2016