Connecting hydrological modelling and forecasting from global to local scales: Perspectives from an international joint virtual workshop
Bart van Osnabrugge,
Journal of Flood Risk Management
Abstract The unprecedented progress in ensemble hydro‐meteorological modelling and forecasting on a range of temporal and spatial scales, raises a variety of new challenges which formed the theme of the Joint Virtual Workshop, ‘Connecting global to local hydrological modelling and forecasting: challenges and scientific advances’. Held from 29 June to 1 July 2021, this workshop was co‐organised by the European Centre for Medium‐Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), the Copernicus Emergency Management (CEMS) and Climate Change (C3S) Services, the Hydrological Ensemble Prediction EXperiment (HEPEX), and the Global Flood Partnership (GFP). This article aims to summarise the state‐of‐the‐art presented at the workshop and provide an early career perspective. Recent advances in hydrological modelling and forecasting, reflections on the use of forecasts for decision‐making across scales, and means to minimise new barriers to communication in the virtual format are also discussed. Thematic foci of the workshop included hydrological model development and skill assessment, uncertainty communication, forecasts for early action, co‐production of services and incorporation of local knowledge, Earth observation, and data assimilation. Connecting hydrological services to societal needs and local decision‐making through effective communication, capacity‐building and co‐production was identified as critical. Multidisciplinary collaborations emerged as crucial to effectively bring newly developed tools to practice.
The significance of spatial variability of rainfall on runoff is explored as a function of catchment scale and type, and antecedent conditions via the continuous time, semi-distributed probability distributed model (PDM) hydrological model applied to the Upper Lee catchment, UK. The impact of catchment scale and type is assessed using 11 nested catchments, and further assessed by artificially changing the catchment characteristics and translating these to model parameters (MPs) with uncertainty using model regionalisation. Dry and wet antecedent conditions are represented by ‘warming up’ the model under different rainfall time series. Synthetic rainfall events are introduced to directly relate the change in simulated runoff to the spatial variability of rainfall. Results show that runoff volume and peak are more sensitive to the spatial rainfall for more impermeable catchments; however, this sensitivity is significantly undermined under wet antecedent conditions. Although there is indication that the impact of spatial rainfall on runoff varies as a function of catchment scale, the variability of antecedent conditions between the synthetic catchments seems to mask this significance. Parameter uncertainty analysis highlights the importance of accurately representing the spatial variability of the catchment properties and their translation to MPs when investigating the effects of spatial properties of rainfall on runoff.