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Detecting the effects of spatial variability of rainfall on hydrological modelling within an uncertainty analysis framework.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date1/07/2009
JournalHydrological Processes
Number of pages16
Original languageEnglish


Spatial patterns of rainfall are known to cause differences in observed flow. In this paper, the effects of perturbations in rainfall patterns on changes in parameter sets as well as model output are explored using the hydrological model Dynamic TOPMODEL for the Brue catchment (135 km2) in southwest England. Overall rainfall amount remains the same at each time step so the perturbations act as effectively treated errors in the spatial pattern. The errors were analysed with particular emphasis on when they could be detected under an uncertainty framework. Higher rainfall perturbations (multipliers of × 4 and greater) in the low lying and high areas of the catchment resulted in changes to event peaks and accompanying compensation in the baseflow. More significantly, changes in the effective model parameter values required by the best models to take account of the more extreme patterns were able to be detected by noting when distributions of parameters change under uncertainty.