Legacy, Rather Than Adequacy, Drives the Selection of Hydrological Models

N. Addor*, L.A. Melsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The findings of hydrological modeling studies depend on which model was used. Although hydrological model selection is a crucial step, experience suggests that hydrologists tend to stick to the model they have experience with, and rarely switch to competing models, although these models might be more adequate given the study objectives. To gain quantitative insights into model selection, we explored the use of seven rainfall-runoff models based on the abstract of 1,529 peer-reviewed papers published between 1991 and 2018. The models selected were the Hydrologiska Byråns Vattenbalansavdelning model (HBV), the Variable Infiltration Capacity model (VIC), the mesoscale Hydrological model (mHM), the TOPography-based hydrologic model (TOPMODEL), the Precipitation Runoff Modelling System (PRMS), the Génie Rural model à 4 paramètres Journaliers (GR4J), and the Sacramento soil moisture accounting model. We provide quantitative evidence of regional preferences in model use across the world and demonstrate that specific models are consistently preferred by certain institutes. Model attachment is particularly strong. In ~74% of the studies, the model selected can be predicted solely based on the affiliation of the first author. The influence of adequacy on the model selection process is less clear. Our data reveal that each model is used across a wide range of purposes, landscapes, and temporal and spatial scales (i.e., as a model of everything and everywhere). Model intercomparisons can provide guidance for model selection and improve model adequacy, but they are still rare (because each model must usually be setup individually) and the insights they provide are currently limited (because they are rarely controlled experiments). We suggest that moving from fixed-structure models to modular modeling frameworks (master templates for model generation) can overcome these issues, enable a more collaborative and responsive model development environment, and result in improved model adequacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-390
Number of pages13
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume55
Issue number1
Early online date26 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

Fingerprint

fixed structure
runoff
hydrological modeling
modeling
infiltration
soil moisture
topography
rainfall
experiment
accounting
world
development model

Keywords

  • bibliometric study
  • community model
  • model evaluation
  • model selection
  • modular modeling frameworks
  • text mining

Cite this

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title = "Legacy, Rather Than Adequacy, Drives the Selection of Hydrological Models",
abstract = "The findings of hydrological modeling studies depend on which model was used. Although hydrological model selection is a crucial step, experience suggests that hydrologists tend to stick to the model they have experience with, and rarely switch to competing models, although these models might be more adequate given the study objectives. To gain quantitative insights into model selection, we explored the use of seven rainfall-runoff models based on the abstract of 1,529 peer-reviewed papers published between 1991 and 2018. The models selected were the Hydrologiska Byr{\aa}ns Vattenbalansavdelning model (HBV), the Variable Infiltration Capacity model (VIC), the mesoscale Hydrological model (mHM), the TOPography-based hydrologic model (TOPMODEL), the Precipitation Runoff Modelling System (PRMS), the G{\'e}nie Rural model {\`a} 4 param{\`e}tres Journaliers (GR4J), and the Sacramento soil moisture accounting model. We provide quantitative evidence of regional preferences in model use across the world and demonstrate that specific models are consistently preferred by certain institutes. Model attachment is particularly strong. In ~74{\%} of the studies, the model selected can be predicted solely based on the affiliation of the first author. The influence of adequacy on the model selection process is less clear. Our data reveal that each model is used across a wide range of purposes, landscapes, and temporal and spatial scales (i.e., as a model of everything and everywhere). Model intercomparisons can provide guidance for model selection and improve model adequacy, but they are still rare (because each model must usually be setup individually) and the insights they provide are currently limited (because they are rarely controlled experiments). We suggest that moving from fixed-structure models to modular modeling frameworks (master templates for model generation) can overcome these issues, enable a more collaborative and responsive model development environment, and result in improved model adequacy.",
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}

Legacy, Rather Than Adequacy, Drives the Selection of Hydrological Models. / Addor, N.; Melsen, L.A.

In: Water Resources Research, Vol. 55, No. 1, 01.2019, p. 378-390.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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T1 - Legacy, Rather Than Adequacy, Drives the Selection of Hydrological Models

AU - Addor, N.

AU - Melsen, L.A.

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N2 - The findings of hydrological modeling studies depend on which model was used. Although hydrological model selection is a crucial step, experience suggests that hydrologists tend to stick to the model they have experience with, and rarely switch to competing models, although these models might be more adequate given the study objectives. To gain quantitative insights into model selection, we explored the use of seven rainfall-runoff models based on the abstract of 1,529 peer-reviewed papers published between 1991 and 2018. The models selected were the Hydrologiska Byråns Vattenbalansavdelning model (HBV), the Variable Infiltration Capacity model (VIC), the mesoscale Hydrological model (mHM), the TOPography-based hydrologic model (TOPMODEL), the Precipitation Runoff Modelling System (PRMS), the Génie Rural model à 4 paramètres Journaliers (GR4J), and the Sacramento soil moisture accounting model. We provide quantitative evidence of regional preferences in model use across the world and demonstrate that specific models are consistently preferred by certain institutes. Model attachment is particularly strong. In ~74% of the studies, the model selected can be predicted solely based on the affiliation of the first author. The influence of adequacy on the model selection process is less clear. Our data reveal that each model is used across a wide range of purposes, landscapes, and temporal and spatial scales (i.e., as a model of everything and everywhere). Model intercomparisons can provide guidance for model selection and improve model adequacy, but they are still rare (because each model must usually be setup individually) and the insights they provide are currently limited (because they are rarely controlled experiments). We suggest that moving from fixed-structure models to modular modeling frameworks (master templates for model generation) can overcome these issues, enable a more collaborative and responsive model development environment, and result in improved model adequacy.

AB - The findings of hydrological modeling studies depend on which model was used. Although hydrological model selection is a crucial step, experience suggests that hydrologists tend to stick to the model they have experience with, and rarely switch to competing models, although these models might be more adequate given the study objectives. To gain quantitative insights into model selection, we explored the use of seven rainfall-runoff models based on the abstract of 1,529 peer-reviewed papers published between 1991 and 2018. The models selected were the Hydrologiska Byråns Vattenbalansavdelning model (HBV), the Variable Infiltration Capacity model (VIC), the mesoscale Hydrological model (mHM), the TOPography-based hydrologic model (TOPMODEL), the Precipitation Runoff Modelling System (PRMS), the Génie Rural model à 4 paramètres Journaliers (GR4J), and the Sacramento soil moisture accounting model. We provide quantitative evidence of regional preferences in model use across the world and demonstrate that specific models are consistently preferred by certain institutes. Model attachment is particularly strong. In ~74% of the studies, the model selected can be predicted solely based on the affiliation of the first author. The influence of adequacy on the model selection process is less clear. Our data reveal that each model is used across a wide range of purposes, landscapes, and temporal and spatial scales (i.e., as a model of everything and everywhere). Model intercomparisons can provide guidance for model selection and improve model adequacy, but they are still rare (because each model must usually be setup individually) and the insights they provide are currently limited (because they are rarely controlled experiments). We suggest that moving from fixed-structure models to modular modeling frameworks (master templates for model generation) can overcome these issues, enable a more collaborative and responsive model development environment, and result in improved model adequacy.

KW - bibliometric study

KW - community model

KW - model evaluation

KW - model selection

KW - modular modeling frameworks

KW - text mining

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DO - 10.1029/2018WR022958

M3 - Article

VL - 55

SP - 378

EP - 390

JO - Water Resources Research

JF - Water Resources Research

SN - 0043-1397

IS - 1

ER -