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Applications of Explicitly Incorporated/Post-Processing Measurement Uncertainty in Watershed Modeling
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    Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 52(2), 523-540.
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  • Description:
    In the field of watershed modeling, the impact of measurement uncertainty (MU) on calibration results indicates the potential issue of inaccurate model predictions. It is important to note that MU refers to the uncertainty in measured data such as flow and nutrient values that are used to evaluate model outputs. The calculation of error statistics assuming measured data are deterministic may not be appropriate as has been frequently stated in literature. Although MU can affect model calibration results, it is rarely incorporated in modeling practice. MU can be incorporated in two schemes: explicitly incorporated (MU-EI) during model calibration and post-processed (MU-PP) after calibration is completed. In this study, both schemes are implemented in a case study of the Arroyo Colorado Watershed, Texas. Unexpectedly, no substantial differences were observed between each scheme for flow predictions. Although MU did not cause dramatic differences in most sediment and NH4-N predictions, error statistics were affected in cases with MU greater than 50%, especially for sediment and NH4-N. Therefore, it is concluded that MU may not exert a significant impact on model predictions until certain threshold is reached. This study demonstrates that high levels of uncertainty in measured calibration/validation data significantly affect parameter estimation, especially in the auto-calibration process.

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