Storage-discharge (S-Q) relations are widely used to derive watershed properties and predict streamflow responses. These relations are often obtained using different recession analysis methods, which vary in recession period identification criteria and Q vs. −dQ/dt fitting scheme. Although previous studies have indicated that different recession analysis methods can result in significantly different S-Q relations and subsequently derived hydrological variables, this observation has often been overlooked and S-Q relations have been used in as is form. This study evaluated the effectiveness of four recession analysis methods in obtaining the characteristic S-Q relation and reconstructing the streamflow. Results indicate that while some methods generally performed better than others, none of them consistently outperformed the others. Even the best-performing method could not yield accurate reconstructed streamflow time series and its PDFs in some watersheds, implying that either derived S-Q relations might not be reliable or S-Q relations cannot be used for hydrological simulations. Notably, accuracy of the methods is influenced by the extent of scatter in the ln(−dQ/dt) vs. ln(Q) plot. In addition, the derived S-Q relation was very sensitive to the criteria used for identifying recession periods. This result raises a warning sign against indiscriminate application of recession analysis methods and derived S-Q relations for watershed characterizations or hydrologic simulations. Thorough evaluation of representativeness of the derived S-Q relation should be performed before it is used for hydrologic analysis.
Chen, Xing, Mukesh Kumar, Stefano Basso, Marco Marani (2017): On the effectiveness of recession analysis methods for capturing the characteristic storage-discharge relation: An intercomparison study. American Geophysical Union 2017 Fall Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, 11-15 December 2017.
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.