Advances in Ensemble Hydrologic Prediction

Andy Wood
Martyn Clark

Ensemble hydrologic (streamflow) prediction provides critical inputs for water, energy and hazard management, particularly in the face of extremes such as floods and droughts.  Following steady advances in operational ensemble numerical weather prediction since the 1990s, US and international operational prediction groups have invested heavily in developing datasets, methods, and models to enable a seamless suite of probabilistic hydrologic predictions spanning timescales from hours to seasons.  Ensemble hydrologic forecasting systems are now operational in a number of countries (including the US), and are enhanced by an increasingly crowded field of operational continental and global ensemble hydrologic prediction services.  In this presentation, we provide background describing the evolution of ensemble hydrologic prediction systems, and highlight the role of the HEPEX (Hydrologic Ensemble Prediction Experiment; initiative since 2004 in defining and promoting an integrative, scientific view of the elements of a hydrologic ensemble prediction approach.  These include methods for the probabilistic downscaling and calibration of meteorological forecast ensembles, hydrologic model parameter estimation and uncertainty quantification, hydrologic model data assimilation, model output post-processing, and ensemble forecast verification and communication for use in risk-based decision-making.  We summarize the current state of practice in applying these methods to achieve reliable ensemble streamflow forecasts (locally and globally), and discuss long-standing and new challenges identified by the ensemble hydrologic prediction community.

Refreshments:  3:15 PM  


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Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm