Assessing the impact of land use change on hydrology by ensemble modelling (LUCHEM) II: Ensemble combinations and predictions

Neil R. Viney*, H. Bormann, L. Breuer, A. Bronstert, B. F.W. Croke, H. Frede, T. Gräff, L. Hubrechts, J. A. Huisman, A. J. Jakeman, G. W. Kite, J. Lanini, G. Leavesley, D. P. Lettenmaier, G. Lindström, J. Seibert, M. Sivapalan, P. Willems

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    120 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper reports on a project to compare predictions from a range of catchment models applied to a mesoscale river basin in central Germany and to assess various ensemble predictions of catchment streamflow. The models encompass a large range in inherent complexity and input requirements. In approximate order of decreasing complexity, they are DHSVM, MIKE-SHE, TOPLATS, WASIM-ETH, SWAT, PRMS, SLURP, HBV, LASCAM and IHACRES. The models are calibrated twice using different sets of input data. The two predictions from each model are then combined by simple averaging to produce a single-model ensemble. The 10 resulting single-model ensembles are combined in various ways to produce multi-model ensemble predictions. Both the single-model ensembles and the multi-model ensembles are shown to give predictions that are generally superior to those of their respective constituent models, both during a 7-year calibration period and a 9-year validation period. This occurs despite a considerable disparity in performance of the individual models. Even the weakest of models is shown to contribute useful information to the ensembles they are part of. The best model combination methods are a trimmed mean (constructed using the central four or six predictions each day) and a weighted mean ensemble (with weights calculated from calibration performance) that places relatively large weights on the better performing models. Conditional ensembles, in which separate model weights are used in different system states (e.g. summer and winter, high and low flows) generally yield little improvement over the weighted mean ensemble. However a conditional ensemble that discriminates between rising and receding flows shows moderate improvement. An analysis of ensemble predictions shows that the best ensembles are not necessarily those containing the best individual models. Conversely, it appears that some models that predict well individually do not necessarily combine well with other models in multi-model ensembles. The reasons behind these observations may relate to the effects of the weighting schemes, non-stationarity of the climate series and possible cross-correlations between models. Crown

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)147-158
    Number of pages12
    JournalAdvances in Water Resources
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


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