High-quality reconstruction of China’s natural streamflow

Chiyuan Miao, Jiaojiao Gou, Bojie Fu, Qiuhong Tang, Qingyun Duan, Zhongsheng Chen, Huimin Lei, Jie Chen, Jiali Guo, Alistair G.l. Borthwick, Wenfeng Ding, Xingwu Duan, Yungang Li, Dongxian Kong, Xiaoying Guo, Jingwen Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Reconstruction of natural streamflow is fundamental to the sustainable management of water resources. In China, previous reconstructions from sparse and poor-quality gauge measurements have led to large biases in simulation of the interannual and seasonal variability of natural flows. Here we use a well-trained and tested land surface model coupled to a routing model with flow direction correction to reconstruct the first high-quality gauge-based natural streamflow dataset for China, covering all its 330 catchments during the period from 1961 to 2018. A stronger positive linear relationship holds between upstream routing cells and drainage areas, after flow direction correction to 330 catchments. We also introduce a parameter-uncertainty analysis framework including sensitivity analysis, optimization, and regionalization, which further minimizes biases between modeled and inferred natural streamflow from natural or near-natural gauges. The resulting behavior of the natural hydrological system is represented properly by the model which achieves high skill metric values of the monthly streamflow, with about 83% of the 330 catchments having Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient (NSE) > 0.7, and about 56% of the 330 catchments having Kling-Gupta efficiency coefficient (KGE) > 0.7. The proposed construction scheme has important implications for similar simulation studies in other regions, and the developed low bias long-term national datasets by statistical postprocessing should be useful in supporting river management activities in China.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages64
JournalScience Bulletin
Early online date25 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Nov 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Natural streamflow
  • Reconstruction
  • Land surface model
  • Parameter uncertainty analysis


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