CREST-VEC: a framework towards more accurate and realistic flood simulation across scales
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CREST-VEC: a framework towards more accurate and realistic flood simulation across scales

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  • Journal Title:
    Geoscientific Model Development
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    Large-scale (i.e., continental and global) hydrologic simulation is an appealing yet challenging topic for the hydrologic community. First and foremost, model efficiency and scalability (flexibility in resolution and discretization) have to be prioritized. Then, sufficient model accuracy and precision are required to provide useful information for water resource applications. Towards this goal, we craft two objectives for improving US current operational hydrological models: (1) vectorized routing and (2) improved hydrological processes. This study presents a hydrologic modeling framework, CREST-VEC, that combines a gridded water balance model and a newly developed vector-based routing scheme. First, in contrast to a conventional fully gridded model, this framework can significantly reduce the computational cost of river routing by at least 10 times, based on experiments at regional (0.07 vs. 0.002 s per step) and continental scales (0.35 vs. 7.2 s per step). This provides adequate time efficiency for generating operational ensemble streamflow forecasts and even probabilistic estimates across scales. Second, the performance using the new vector-based routing is improved, with the median-aggregated NSE (Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency) score increasing from −0.06 to 0.18 over the CONUS (contiguous US). Third, with the lake module incorporated, the NSE score is further improved by 56.2 % and the systematic bias is reduced by 17 %. Lastly, over 20 % of the false alarms on 2-year floods in the US can be mitigated with the lake module enabled, at the expense of only missing 2.3 % more events. This study demonstrated the advantages of the proposed hydrological modeling framework, which could provide a solid basis for continental- and global-scale water modeling at fine resolution. Furthermore, the use of ensemble forecasts can be incorporated into this framework; and thus, optimized streamflow prediction with quantified uncertainty information can be achieved in an operational fashion for stakeholders and decision-makers.
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    Geoscientific Model Development, 15(15), 6181-6196
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    CC BY
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