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The Promise of Diversity: Distribution-based Hydrologic Model Evaluation and Diagnostics
  • Jasper A. Vrugt
Jasper A. Vrugt
University of California, Irvine

Corresponding Author:jasper@uci.edu

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\(\)\(\)This paper advocates the use of simulation distributions for hydrologic model evaluation and model diagnostics. Distribution evaluation is supported by information-theoretic arguments and puts into modeling practice the social justice narrative of diversity, equity and inclusion for different simulations. We discuss past developments that led to the current state-of-the-art of forecast verification in hydrology and bring to the fore scoring rules for model evaluation and diagnostics. Strictly proper scoring rules condense a distribution forecast to a single reward value for the materialized outcome(s) and have a strong underpinning in statistical, decision and information theory. We review scoring rules for dichotomous and categorical events, quantiles (intervals) and density forecasts, discuss the importance of scoring rule propriety and address diagnostic aspects such as sharpness, reliability and entropy. The usefulness and power of scoring rules is demonstrated on simple benchmark problems and discharge distributions simulated with conceptual watershed models using GLUE and Bayesian model averaging. We also link scoring rules to model diagnostics and present strictly proper divergence scores for flood frequency analysis and flow duration and recession curves. Scoring rules offer a rigorous information-theoretic underpinning to model evaluation and diagnostics and provide statistically principled means for (Bayesian) model selection and the analysis of hydrograph functionals, flood frequencies and extreme events.
01 Apr 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
04 Apr 2023Published in ESS Open Archive