Ensemble predictions of runoff in ungauged catchments

N McIntyre, H Lee, H Wheater, Andrew B Young, T Wagener

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

263 Citations (Scopus)


A new approach to regionalization of conceptual rainfall-runoff models is presented on the basis of ensemble modeling and model averaging. It is argued that in principle, this approach represents an improvement on the established procedure of regressing parameter values against numeric catchment descriptors. Using daily data from 127 catchments in the United Kingdom, alternative schemes for defining prior and posterior likelihoods of candidate models are tested in terms of accuracy of ungauged catchment predictions. A probability distributed model structure is used, and alternative parameter sets are identified using data from each of a number of gauged catchments. Using the models of the 10 gauged catchments most similar to the ungauged catchment provides generally the best results and performs significantly better than the regression method, especially for predicting low flows. The ensemble of candidate models provides an indication of uncertainty in ungauged catchment predictions, although this is not a robust estimate of possible flow ranges, and frequently fails to encompass flow peaks. Options for developing the new method to resolve these problems are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberW12434
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages14
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2005

Structured keywords

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