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Modelling the effect of land use change on hydrological model parameters via linearized calibration method in the upstream of Huaihe River Basin, China

Wei Si, Weimin Bao, Simin Qu, Minmin Zhou, Peng Shi, Xiaoqiang Yang


Conceptual rainfall–runoff models have become a basic tool for evaluating effects of land use/cover changes on the hydrologic processes in small-scale as well as large watersheds. The runoff-producing mechanism is influenced by land use/cover changes. In this study, we analysed the effect of land use change on hydrological model parameters by calibrating the model parameters of different time periods with different land use via a linearized calibration method. The parameter calibration of a conceptual model usually involves the construction of objective function and optimization methods for good performance of observed data. However, the objective function of the minimum-sum-squared error will introduce an unrelated optimum solution for the parameter calibration problem of a conceptual model, which belongs to a highly complex nonlinear system. Thus, a linearized parameter calibration method, which searches for the optimal value on a parameter surface, is presented, based on the analysis of the problems of the objective function of the minimum-sum-squared error. Firstly, an ideal model is shown that illustrates the efficiency and applicability of this method. Secondly, the novel method is demonstrated for solving the Xinanjiang daily model parameter calibration. Finally, 50 years of data are divided into 4 different periods for parameter comparison, through which the effects of land use/cover changes on runoff in Dapoling watershed are evaluated. The results show that the linearized parameter calibration method is convergent, reasonable and effective. For example, the model parameter of evapotranspiration coefficient KC varied considerably, from 0.658 to 0.922, in response to land use/cover change within the watershed.

Keywords: land use/cover change; parameter calibration; linearized; upper Huaihe River Basin
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