Model calibration in watershed hydrology

Koray K. Yilmaz, Jasper A. Vrugt, Hoshin V. Gupta, Soroosh Sorooshian

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

23 Scopus citations


Hydrologic models use relatively simple mathematical equations to conceptualize and aggregate the complex, spatially distributed, and highly interrelated water, energy, and vegetation processes in a watershed. A consequence of process aggregation is that the model parameters often do not represent directly measurable entities and must, therefore, be estimated using measurements of the system inputs and outputs. During this procedure, known as model calibration, the parameters are adjusted so that the behavior of the model approximates, as closely and consistently as possible, the observed response of the hydrologic system over some historical period of time. This Chapter reviews the current state-of-the-art of model calibration in watershed hydrology with special emphasis on our own contributions in the last few decades. We discuss the historical background that has led to current perspectives and review different approaches for manual and automatic single- and multi-objective parameter estimation. In particular, we highlight the recent developments in the calibration of distributed hydrologic models using parameter dimensionality reduction sampling, parameter regularization, and parallel computing. Finally, this chapter concludes with a short summary of methods for assessment of parameter uncertainty, including recent advances in Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling and sequential data assimilation methods based on the Ensemble Kalman Filter.Read

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Data-Based Approaches for Hydrologic Modeling and Forecasting
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing Co.
Number of pages53
ISBN (Electronic)9789814307987
ISBN (Print)9814307971, 9789814307970
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • General Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


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