A Bayesian methodology is developed to evaluate parameter uncertainty in catchment models fitted to a hydrologic response such as runoff, the goal being to improve the chance of successful regionalization. The catchment model is posed as a nonlinear regression model with stochastic errors possibly being both autocorrelated and heteroscedastic. The end result of this methodology, which may use Box‐Cox power transformations and ARMA error models, is the posterior distribution, which summarizes what is known about the catchment model parameters. This can be simplified to a multivariate normal provided a linearization in parameter space is acceptable; means of checking and improving this assumption are discussed. The posterior standard deviations give a direct measure of parameter uncertainty, and study of the posterior correlation matrix can indicate what kinds of data are required to improve the precision of poorly determined parameters. Finally, a case study involving a nine‐parameter catchment model fitted to monthly runoff and soil moisture data is presented. It is shown that use of ordinary least squares when its underlying error assumptions are violated gives an erroneous description of parameter uncertainty.
Water Resources Research – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1983
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