Discharge Simulation in a Data-Scarce Basin Using Reanalysis and Global Precipitation Data: A Case Study of the White Volta Basin


Basins in many parts of the world are ungauged or poorly gauged, and in some cases existing measurement networks are declining. The purpose of this study was to examine the utility of reanalysis and global precipitation datasets in the river discharge simulation for a data-scarce basin. The White Volta basin of Ghana which is one of international rivers was selected as a study basin. NCEP1, NCEP2, ERA-Interim, and GPCP datasets were compared with corresponding observed precipitation data. Annual variations were not reproduced in NCEP1, NCEP2, and ERA-Interim. However, GPCP data, which is based on satellite and observed data, had good seasonal accuracy and reproduced annual variations well. Moreover, five datasets were used as input data to a hydrologic model with HYMOD, which is a water balance model, and with WTM, which is a river model; thereafter, the hydrologic model was calibrated for each datum set by a global optimization method, and river discharge were simulated. The results were evaluated by the root mean square error, relative error, and water balance error. As a result, the combination of GPCP precipitation and ERA-Interim evaporation data was the best in terms of most evaluations. The relative errors in the calibration and validation periods were 43.1% and 46.6%, respectively. Moreover, the results for the GPCP precipitation and ERA-Interim evaporation were better than those for the combination of observed precipitation and ERA-Interim evaporation. In conclusion, GPCP precipitation data and ERA-Interim evaporation data are very useful in a data-scarce basin water balance analysis.

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Fujihara, Y. , Yamamoto, Y. , Tsujimoto, Y. and Sakagami, J. (2014) Discharge Simulation in a Data-Scarce Basin Using Reanalysis and Global Precipitation Data: A Case Study of the White Volta Basin. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 6, 1316-1325. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2014.614121.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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