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A Large-scale, High-resolution Hydrological Model Parameter Data Set for Climate Change Impact Assessment for the Conterminous Us

by Abdoul A Oubeidillah, Shih-chieh Kao, Moetasim Ashfaq, Bibi S Naz, Glenn Tootle
Publication Type
Journal Name
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
Publication Date
Page Numbers
67 to 84

To extend geographical coverage, refine spatial resolution, and improve modeling efficiency, a computation- and data-intensive effort was conducted to organize a comprehensive hydrologic dataset with post-calibrated model parameters for hydro-climate impact assessment. Several key inputs for hydrologic simulation—including meteorologic forcings, soil, land class, vegetation, and elevation—were collected from multiple best-available data sources and organized for 2107 hydrologic subbasins (8-digit hydrologic units, HUC8s) in the conterminous United States at refined 1/24° (~4 km) spatial resolution. Using high-performance computing for intensive model calibration, a high-resolution parameter dataset was prepared for the macro-scale Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrologic model. The VIC simulation was driven by DAYMET daily meteorological forcing and was calibrated against USGS WaterWatch monthly runoff observations for each HUC8. The results showed that this new parameter dataset may help reasonably simulate runoff at most US HUC8 subbasins. Based on this exhaustive calibration effort, it is now possible to accurately estimate the resources required for further model improvement across the entire conterminous United States. We anticipate that through this hydrologic parameter dataset, the repeated effort of fundamental data processing can be lessened, so that research efforts can emphasize the more challenging task of assessing climate change impacts. The pre-organized model parameter dataset will be provided to interested parties to support further hydro-climate impact assessment.