Accelerating advances in continental domain hydrologic modeling

Stacey A. Archfield*, Martyn Clark, Berit Arheimer, Lauren E. Hay, Hilary Mcmillan, Julie E. Kiang, Jan Seibert, Kirsti Hakala, Andrew Bock, Thorsten Wagener, William H. Farmer, Vazken Andréassian, Sabine Attinger, Alberto Viglione, Rodney Knight, Steven Markstrom, Thomas Over

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


In the past, hydrologic modeling of surface water resources has mainly focused on simulating the hydrologic cycle at local to regional catchment modeling domains. There now exists a level of maturity among the catchment, global water security, and land surface modeling communities such that these communities are converging toward continental domain hydrologic models. This commentary, written from a catchment hydrology community perspective, provides a review of progress in each community toward this achievement, identifies common challenges the communities face, and details immediate and specific areas in which these communities can mutually benefit one another from the convergence of their research perspectives. Those include: (1) creating new incentives and infrastructure to report and share model inputs, outputs, and parameters in data services and open access, machine-independent formats for model replication or reanalysis; (2) ensuring that hydrologic models have: sufficient complexity to represent the dominant physical processes and adequate representation of anthropogenic impacts on the terrestrial water cycle, a process-based approach to model parameter estimation, and appropriate parameterizations to represent large-scale fluxes and scaling behavior; (3) maintaining a balance between model complexity and data availability as well as uncertainties; and (4) quantifying and communicating significant advancements toward these modeling goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10078-10091
Number of pages14
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number12
Early online date31 Dec 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Dec 2015


  • Hydrology
  • Model
  • Surface water
  • Water resources


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