An investigation of site-similarity approaches to generalisation of a rainfall-runoff model

A. L. Kay, D. A. Jones, S. M. Crooks, T. R. Kjeldsen, C.F. Fung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (SciVal)


This paper investigates a new approach to spatial generalisation of rainfall-runoff model parameters - site-similarity with pooling groups - for use in flood frequency estimation at ungauged sites using continuous simulation. The method is developed for the generalisation of a simple conceptual model, the Probability Distributed Model, with four parameters which require specific estimation. The study is based on a relatively large sample of catchments in Great Britain. Various options are investigated within the approach. In the final version, the pooling group comprises the 10 calibrated catchments closest, in catchment property space, to the target site, where the catchment properties used to define the space differ for each parameter of the model. An analysis that, explicitly, takes account of calibration uncertainty as a source of error enables the uncertainty associated with generalised parameter values to be reduced, justifiably. The approach uses calibration uncertainty estimated through jack-knifing and employs a weighting scheme within pooling groups that uses weights which vary both with distance in the catchment property space and with the calibration uncertainty. Models using generalised values from this approach perform relatively well compared with direct calibration. Although performance appears to be better in some areas of the country than others, there are no obvious relationships between catchment properties and performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-515
Number of pages16
JournalHydrology and Earth System Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • Continuous simulation
  • Flood frequency
  • Generalisation
  • Regionalisation
  • Uncertainty
  • Ungauged catchments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'An investigation of site-similarity approaches to generalisation of a rainfall-runoff model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this