Hydrology, Cryosphere & Earth Surface Editors' Highlights

Calibrating Hydrological Models by Satellite

Hydrological models are usually calibrated using observations of streamflow, but a new method uses remotely sensed land surface temperature for this purpose.

Source: Water Resources Research


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Hydrological models are good at simulating the water balance. However, in order to estimate the parameters of hydrological models, hydrologists are usually forced to rely on streamflow data only, which makes hydrological model parameters poorly constrained. Zink et al. [2018] introduce a simple but elegant method that enables any hydrological model without an energy balance scheme to still provide estimates of land surface temperature. This then makes it possible to calibrate these models to both streamflow and remotely sensed surface temperature data. This not only leads to much improved hydrological parameterizations that obey both water balance and energy balance constraints but could also be a significant step towards simulating runoff in catchments without streamflow observations.

Citation: Zink, M., Mai, J., Cuntz, M., & Samaniego, L. [2018]. Conditioning a hydrologic model using patterns of remotely sensed land surface temperature. Water Resources Research, 54. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017WR021346

—Marc F. P. Bierkens, Editor, Water Resources Research

© 2018. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0