Effects of temporal resolution of input precipitation on the performance of hydrological forecasting

F. Wetterhall, Y. He, H. Cloke, F. Pappenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Flood prediction systems rely on good quality precipitation input data and forecasts to drive hydrological models. Most precipitation data comes from daily stations with a good spatial coverage. However, some flood events occur on sub-daily time scales and flood prediction systems could benefit from using models calibrated on the same time scale. This study compares precipitation data aggregated from hourly stations (HP) and data disaggregated from daily stations (DP) with 6-hourly forecasts from ECMWF over the time period 1 October 2006–31 December 2009. The HP and DP data sets were then used to calibrate two hydrological models, LISFLOOD-RR and HBV, and the latter was used in a flood case study. The HP scored better than the DP when evaluated against the forecast for lead times up to 4 days. However, this was not translated in the same way to the hydrological modelling, where the models gave similar scores for simulated runoff with the two datasets. The flood forecasting study showed that both datasets gave similar hit rates whereas the HP data set gave much smaller false alarm rates (FAR). This indicates that using sub-daily precipitation in the calibration and initiation of hydrological models can improve flood forecasting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-25
Number of pages5
JournalAdvances in Geosciences
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2011

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