#### 2021

Models that mimic an original model might have a different model structure than the original model, that affects model output. This study assesses model structure differences and their impact on output by comparing 7 model implementations that carry the name HBV. We explain and quantify output differences with individual model structure components at both the numerical (e.g., explicit/implicit scheme) and mathematical level (e.g., lineair/power outflow). It was found that none of the numerical and mathematical formulations of the mimicking models were (originally) the same as the benchmark, HBV-light. This led to small but distinct output differences in simulated streamflow for different numerical implementations (KGE difference up to 0.15), and major output differences due to mathematical differences (KGE median loss of 0.27). These differences decreased after calibrating the individual models to the simulated streamflow of the benchmark model. We argue that the lack of systematic model naming has led to a diverging concept of the HBV-model, diminishing the concept of model mimicry. Development of a systematic model naming framework, open accessible model code and more elaborate model descriptions are suggested to enhance model mimicry and model development.

Abstract. Hydrological models are usually systems of nonlinear differential equations for which no analytical solutions exist and thus rely on approximate numerical solutions. While some studies have investigated the relationship between numerical method choice and model error, the extent to which extreme precipitation like that observed during hurricanes Harvey and Katrina impacts numerical error of hydrological models is still unknown. This knowledge is relevant in light of climate change, where many regions will likely experience more intense precipitation events. In this experiment, a large number of hydrographs is generated with the modular modeling framework FUSE, using eight numerical techniques across a variety of forcing datasets. Multiple model structures, parameter sets, and initial conditions are incorporated for generality. The computational expense and numerical error associated with each hydrograph were recorded. It was found that numerical error (root mean square error) usually increases with precipitation intensity and decreases with event duration. Some numerical methods constrain errors much more effectively than others, sometimes by many orders of magnitude. Of the tested numerical methods, a second-order adaptive explicit method is found to be the most efficient because it has both low numerical error and low computational cost. A basic literature review indicates that many popular modeling codes use numerical techniques that were suggested by this experiment to be sub-optimal. We conclude that relatively large numerical errors might be common in current models, and because these will likely become larger as the climate changes, we advocate for the use of low cost, low error numerical methods.

Abstract. Hydrological models are usually systems of nonlinear differential equations for which no analytical solutions exist and thus rely on numerical solutions. While some studies have investigated the relationship between numerical method choice and model error, the extent to which extreme precipitation such as that observed during hurricanes Harvey and Katrina impacts numerical error of hydrological models is still unknown. This knowledge is relevant in light of climate change, where many regions will likely experience more intense precipitation. In this experiment, a large number of hydrographs are generated with the modular modeling framework FUSE (Framework for Understanding Structural Errors), using eight numerical techniques across a variety of forcing data sets. All constructed models are conceptual and lumped. Multiple model structures, parameter sets, and initial conditions are incorporated for generality. The computational cost and numerical error associated with each hydrograph were recorded. Numerical error is assessed via root mean square error and normalized root mean square error. It was found that the root mean square error usually increases with precipitation intensity and decreases with event duration. Some numerical methods constrain errors much more effectively than others, sometimes by many orders of magnitude. Of the tested numerical methods, a second-order adaptive explicit method is found to be the most efficient because it has both a small numerical error and a low computational cost. A small literature review indicates that many popular modeling codes use numerical techniques that were suggested by this experiment to be suboptimal. We conclude that relatively large numerical errors may be common in current models, highlighting the need for robust numerical techniques, in particular in the face of increasing precipitation extremes.

#### 2019

It is generally acknowledged in the environmental sciences that the choice of a computational model impacts the research results. In this study of a flood and drought event in the Swiss Thur basin, we show that modeling decisions during the model configuration, beyond the model choice, also impact the model results. In our carefully designed experiment we investigated four modeling decisions in ten nested basins: the spatial resolution of the model, the spatial representation of the forcing data, the calibration period, and the performance metric. The flood characteristics were mainly affected by the performance metric, whereas the drought characteristics were mainly affected by the calibration period. The results could be related to the processes that triggered the particular events studied. The impact of the modeling decisions on the simulations did, however, vary among the investigated sub-basins. In spite of the limitations of this study, our findings have important implications for the understanding and quantification of uncertainty in any hydrological or even environmental model. Modeling decisions during model configuration introduce subjectivity from the modeler. Multiple working hypotheses during model configuration can provide insights on the impact of such subjective modeling decisions.