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Sensitivity to space and time resolution of a hydrological model using digital elevation data.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date01/1995
JournalHydrological Processes
Journal number1
Volume9
Number of pages13
Pages69-81
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The space and time resolutions used for the input variables of a distributed hydrological model have a sufficient impact on the model results. This resolution depends on the required accuracy, experimental site and the processes and variables taken into account in the hydrological model. The influence of space and time resolution is studied here for the case of TOPMODEL, a model based on the variable contributing area concept, applied to an experimental 12 km2 catchment (Coët-Dan, Brittany, France) during a two month winter period. A sensitivity analysis to space and time resolution is performed first for input variables derived from the digital elevation data, secondly for the optimized values of the TOPMODEL parameters and finally for modelling efficiency. This analysis clearly shows that a relevant domain of space and time resolutions where efficiency is fairly constant can be defined for the input topographic variables, as opposed to another domain of larger resolutions that induces a strong decrease of modelling efficiency. It also shows that the use of a single set of parameters, defined as mean values of parameters on this relevant domain of resolution, does not modify the accuracy of modelling. The sensitivity of the parameters to space and time resolution allows the physical significance of the parameter values to be discussed.