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STATISTICAL PROCEDURES FOR EVALUATING DAILY AND MONTHLY HYDROLOGIC MODEL PREDICTIONS

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Transactions of the ASAE. 47(1): 59-68. (doi: 10.13031/2013.15870) @2004
Authors:   M. E. Coffey, S. R. Workman, J. L. Taraba, A. W. Fogle
Keywords:   Dependent data, Hydrologic time series, Hypothesis testing, Model validity, Non-normality

The overall study objective was to evaluate the applicability of different qualitative and quantitative methods for comparing daily and monthly SWAT computer model hydrologic streamflow predictions to observed data, and to recommend statistical methods for use in future model evaluations. Statistical methods were tested using daily streamflows and monthly equivalent runoff depths. The statistical techniques included linear regression, Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency, nonparametric tests, t-test, objective functions, autocorrelation, and cross-correlation. None of the methods specifically applied to the non-normal distribution and dependence between data points for the daily predicted and observed data. Of the tested methods, median objective functions, sign test, autocorrelation, and cross-correlation were most applicable for the daily data. The robust coefficient of determination (CD*) and robust modeling efficiency (EF*) objective functions were the preferred methods for daily model results due to the ease of comparing these values with a fixed ideal reference value of one. Predicted and observed monthly totals were more normally distributed, and there was less dependence between individual monthly totals than was observed for the corresponding predicted and observed daily values. More statistical methods were available for comparing SWAT model-predicted and observed monthly totals. The 1995 monthly SWAT model predictions and observed data had a regression Rr 2 of 0.70, a Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency of 0.41, and the t-test failed to reject the equal data means hypothesis. The Nash-Sutcliffe coefficient and the Rr 2 coefficient were the preferred methods for monthly results due to the ability to compare these coefficients to a set ideal value of one.

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