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Insights From Dayflow: A Historical Streamflow Reanalysis Dataset for the Conterminous United States...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Water Resources Research
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 27

Reconstructed historical streamflow time series can supplement limited streamflow gauge observations. However, there are common challenges of typical modeling approaches: process-based hydrologic models can be data/computation-intensive, and statistics-based models can be region/stream-specific. Here we present a nationally scalable modeling framework integrating the simulated runoff from the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model with the Routing Application for Parallel computatIon of Discharge (RAPID) routing model leveraging high-performance computing. We demonstrate an efficient method of assimilating streamflow at US Geological Survey (USGS) streamflow monitoring sites using a simple hierarchical approach in the VIC-RAPID framework. The result is a reconstructed 36-year (1980–2015) daily and monthly streamflow dataset (Dayflow) at ∼2.7 million NHDPlusV2 stream reaches in the conterminous US (CONUS). We perform a comprehensive evaluation at 7,526 USGS sites and characterize their error statistics. The results demonstrate that 49% of the USGS sites demonstrate Kling–Gupta Efficiency (KGE) > 0.5 and 58% of the sites show percentage bias within ±20% for the daily naturalized streamflow. Streamflow data assimilation across CONUS shows an overall improvement over naturalized streamflow, notably in the western semiarid-to-arid regions. Comparison to other national and global streamflow reanalysis datasets such as the National Water Model and Global Reach-scale A priori Discharge Estimates for SWOT demonstrates improved KGE, reduced bias, and directions for Dayflow improvements. Investigations of error statistics with key hydrologic, hydroclimatic, and geomorphologic basin characteristics reveal region-specific patterns which may help improve future framework applications. Overall, Dayflow may enable a better understanding of hydrologic conditions in a changing environment, especially in locations currently not represented by streamflow monitoring networks.