A Pareto‐Based Sensitivity Analysis and Multiobjective Calibration Approach for Integrating Streamflow and Evaporation Data

Patricio Yeste*, Lieke Melsen, Matilde García ‐ Valdecasas Ojeda, Sonia Gámiz‐Fortis, Yolanda Castro‐Díez, María J. Esteban‐Parra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Evaporation is gaining increasing attention as a calibration and evaluation variable in hydrologic studies that seek to improve the physical realism of hydrologic models and go beyond the long-established streamflow-only calibration. However, this trend is not yet reflected in sensitivity analyses aimed at determining the relevant parameters to calibrate, where streamflow has traditionally played a leading role. On the basis of a Pareto optimization approach, we propose a framework to integrate the temporal dynamics of streamflow and evaporation into the sensitivity analysis and calibration stages of the hydrologic modeling exercise, here referred to as “Pareto-based sensitivity analysis” and “multiobjective calibration.” The framework is successfully applied to a case study using the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model in three catchments located in Spain as representative of the different hydroclimatic conditions within the Iberian Peninsula. Several VIC vegetation parameters were identified as important to the performance estimates for evaporation during sensitivity analysis, and therefore were suitable candidates to improve the model representation of evaporative fluxes. Sensitivities for the streamflow performance, in turn, were mostly driven by the soil and routing parameters, with little contribution from the vegetation parameters. The multiobjective calibration experiments were carried out for the most parsimonious parameterization after a comparative analysis of the performance gains and losses for streamflow and evaporation, and yielded optimal adjustments for both hydrologic variables simultaneously. Results from this study will help to develop a better understanding of the trade-offs resulting from the joint integration of streamflow and evaporation data into modeling frameworks.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022WR033235
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023


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