Decomposition of Sources of Errors in Seasonal Streamflow Forecasting over the US Sunbelt

Monday, 15 December 2014
Amirhossein Mazrooei1, Tushar Sinha2, Sujay Kumar3, Christa D Peters-Lidard3 and Sankarasubramanian Arumugam1, (1)NC State University, Raleigh, NC, United States, (2)Texas A & M University Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, United States, (3)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
In order to better manage water demands from multiple uses (e.g., municipal water demands, hydroelectric power generation, and agricultural operations), water resources managers and operators are interested to know potential changes in seasonal streamflow based on climate forecasts. However, various sources of uncertainty in forecasting streamflow pose significant challenges to utilize streamflow forecasts in real time operations. In this study we systematically decompose various sources of errors in developing seasonal streamflow forecasts from multiple Land Surface Models (LSMs) forced with downscaled and disaggregated climate forecasts. The objectives of this study are: 1) Quantifying various sources of errors arising from each LSM, climate forecasts, and downscaling/disaggregation techniques employed in developing streamflow forecasts, and 2) Comparing the performance and the skill of different LSMs in streamflow forecasting over selected target basins in the study area.

First, three-month ahead precipitation forecasts from ECHAM4.5 GCM for each season were statistically downscaled from 2.8° to 1/8° scale using Principal Component Regression (PCR) and then temporally disaggregated from monthly to daily time step using K-Nearest-Neighbor (K-NN) approach. For other climatic forcings excluding precipitation we obtained hourly climatology over almost 30 years (from 1979 to 2010) from NLDAS-2 dataset. Then LSMs such as NOAH3.2 and CLM2 were forced with precipitation forecasts and climatological forcings to develop retrospective seasonal streamflow forecast over the period of 20 years (1991-2010). Finally, the performance of different LSMs in forecasting streamflow under different schemes were analyzed to quantify sources of errors and to validate forecasted streamflow.