Bayesian Assessment of the Uncertainties of Estimates of a Conceptual Rainfall-Runoff Model Parameters

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Francisco Eustáquio Oliveira e Silva, Mauro Da Cunha Naghettini and Wilson Fernandes, UFMG Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
This paper evaluated the uncertainties associated with the estimation of the parameters of a conceptual rainfall-runoff model, through the use of Bayesian inference techniques by Monte Carlo simulation. The Pará River sub-basin, located in the upper São Francisco river basin, in southeastern Brazil, was selected for developing the studies. In this paper, we used the Rio Grande conceptual hydrologic model (EHR/UFMG, 2001) and the Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulation method named DREAM (VRUGT, 2008a). Two probabilistic models for the residues were analyzed: (i) the classic [Normal likelihood – r ≈ N (0, σ²)]; and (ii) a generalized likelihood (SCHOUPS & VRUGT, 2010), in which it is assumed that the differences between observed and simulated flows are correlated, non-stationary, and distributed as a Skew Exponential Power density. The assumptions made for both models were checked to ensure that the estimation of uncertainties in the parameters was not biased. The results showed that the Bayesian approach proved to be adequate to the proposed objectives, enabling and reinforcing the importance of assessing the uncertainties associated with hydrological modeling.