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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 19, issue 5 | Copyright
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 2535-2546, 2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 29 May 2015

Research article | 29 May 2015

Transferring global uncertainty estimates from gauged to ungauged catchments

F. Bourgin1, V. Andréassian1, C. Perrin1, and L. Oudin2 F. Bourgin et al.
  • 1Irstea, Hydrosystems and Bioprocesses Research Unit (HBAN), Antony, France
  • 2UPMC Univ. Paris 06, UMR 7619 Metis, Paris, France

Abstract. Predicting streamflow hydrographs in ungauged catchments is challenging, and accompanying the estimates with realistic uncertainty bounds is an even more complex task. In this paper, we present a method to transfer global uncertainty estimates from gauged to ungauged catchments and we test it over a set of 907 catchments located in France, using two rainfall–runoff models. We evaluate the quality of the uncertainty estimates based on three expected qualities: reliability, sharpness, and overall skill. The robustness of the method to the availability of information on gauged catchments was also evaluated using a hydrometrical desert approach. Our results show that the method presents advantageous perspectives, providing reliable and sharp uncertainty bounds at ungauged locations in a majority of cases.

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