Value of bias-corrected satellite rainfall products in SWAT simulations and comparison with other models in the Mara basin

Tuesday, 15 December 2015: 14:10
3022 (Moscone West)
Tadesse Alemayehu Abitew1, Tirthankar Roy2, Aleix Serrat-Capdevila2, Ann van Griensven1, Juan B Valdes2 and Willy Bauwens1, (1)Vrije Universiteit Brussel - VUB, Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, Brussels, Belgium, (2)University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States
Hydrometeorological monitoring networks are often limited for basins located in the developing world such as the transboundary Mara Basin. The advent of earth observing systems have brought satellite rainfall and evapotranspiration products, which can be used to force hydrological models in data scarce basins. The objective of this study is to develop improved hydrologic simulations using distributed satellite rainfall products (CMORPH and TMPA) with a bias-correction, and compare the performance with different input data and models. The bias correction approach for the satellite-products (CMORPH and TMPA) involves the use of a distributed reference dataset (CHIRPS) and historical ground gauge records. We have applied the bias-corrected satellite products to force the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model for the Mara Basin. Firstly, we calibrate the SWAT parameters related to ET simulation using ET from remote sensing. Then, the SWAT parameters that control surface processes are calibrated using the available limited flow. From the analysis, we noted that not only the bias-corrected satellite rainfall but also augmenting limited flow data with monthly remote sensing ET improves the model simulation skill and reduces the parameter uncertainty to some extent. We have planned to compare these results from a lumped model forced by the same input satellite rainfall. This will shed light on the potential of satellite rainfall and remote sensing ET along with in situ data for hydrological processes modeling and the inherent uncertainty in a data scarce basin.