What is observed & predicted flow? Can I use observed flow?

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What is observed & predicted flow? Can I use observed flow?

Post by rcoville » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:02 am

Observed and predicted streamflow are only applicable for watershed area projects, where stream gauge data is a possible project input. Observed flow is based on the measured stream gauge data. Predicted flow is simulated by model processes. The difference between observed and predicted flows becomes relevant when calibrating the model. You cannot use observed flow, but you can calibrate the model to observed flow.

Calibration aligns observed and predicted flows to reach minimal difference between them by adjusting hydrological parameters. Calibrated simulations are valuable for having more quantitative comparisons between alternatives, but calibration does take more data input and can be prone to error due to limitations of calibration for any environmental model. Uncalibrated simulations are less quantitative but are useful for qualitative comparison of scenarios.
We recommend most users run the model uncalibrated, using the default hydrological parameters.

For more information on calibration, please see the following forum post about it:
Calibration Overview - viewtopic.php?f=35&t=1239
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