A better understanding of modeled streamflow errors related to basin reservoir storage is needed for large regions, which normally have many ungaged basins with reservoirs. We quantified the difference between modeled and observed streamflows for one process-based and three statistical-transfer hydrologic models, none of which explicitly accounted for reservoir storage. Streamflow statistics representing low to high flows, seasonality, annual variability, and daily autocorrelation were examined at 1082 study basins across the conterminous USA. All models increasingly overpredict (or decreasingly underpredict) observed annual maximum flows with increasing storage. Correlations between absolute values of errors for low-flow statistics and storage are often larger in magnitude than those for signed errors—additional storage is associated with increases in model errors in both directions even when its overall effect in one direction is weak. The rate of increase in absolute values of model errors was nonlinear for most statistics. For low flows, model errors had a change point to larger errors at 48 days of reservoir storage (relative to long-term mean daily flow); mean and high flows had change points at 147 to 176 days. We present predicted-to-observed errors for nine streamflow statistics over a large range of reservoir storage to help modelers and users of modeled streamflow understand the amount of storage for which explicit reservoir modeling is needed.
|Title||The consequences of neglecting reservoir storage in national-scale hydrologic models: An appraisal of key streamflow statistics|
|Authors||Glenn A. Hodgkins, Thomas M. Over, Robert W. Dudley, Amy M. Russell, Jacob H. LaFontaine|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Journal of the American Water Resources Association|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||New England Water Science Center; South Atlantic Water Science Center; Central Midwest Water Science Center|