Large-scale multi-basin modelling and comparative hydrology.

Research focus

The aim is to gain understanding of dominant water processes and emergent patterns in a changing word. We combine different types of spatial data and measurements (such as databases of physiography, meteorological grids, occasional field sampling, continuous field observations, satellite, radar, etc.) with the numerical modelling of processes, and the use of general assumptions to describe large-scale systems at high resolution. Some specific science questions are for instance:

  • What are the effects of change in society and environment on water resources? There are complex relationships and interactions between humans and the environment. Short term predictions can be made based on models combined with recent observations while long term predictions are made using estimated changes in scenario modelling (i.e. remedial measures, climate changes).
  • How can new data contribute to the improvement of process understanding and model accuracy? Open data and global datasets are currently evolving fast, through new techniques of earth observations, citizen’s observatories and public portals. The new data may be used for finding relations between physiography and water fluxes, model-parameter constrains and evaluation of model assumptions.
  • How do dominant hydrological features in one region compare to those of another? The reasons behind similarities and discrepancies in catchment and river behavior are analyzed in the multi-basin model by comparing fluxes and characteristics between different catchments. Hypothesis on drivers can easily be explored in the multi-basin model system, which covers large samples of data from many rivers.
HYPEintheWorld 2014 Figure 1. HYPE model applications set up by SMHI. Enlarge Image

Societal use of model results

The modelling was initiated by different reasons in different domains, and currently the results are for instance used for:

  • Climate change impact assessments on water resources and dynamics.
  • The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) for characterization and development of measure programs to improve the ecological status of water bodies.
  • Design variables for infrastructure constructions.
  • Spatial water-resource mapping.
  • Operational forecasts (1-10 days  and seasonal) on floods and droughts.
  • Input to oceanographic models for operational forecasts and marine status assessments.
  • Research.

Large-scale multi-basin modelling

A ‘large-scale hydrological model’ is a numerical code calculating water volume and fluxes over large geographical areas, which encompass many river basins, cross regional and international boundaries, and a number of different geophysical and climatic zones. ‘Multi-basin’ indicates that each geographical domain include numerous coupled catchments and has a relatively high spatial resolution, although most basins are ungauged. The temporal resolution in the calculations is normally daily.

We publish the modelled Open Data for inspection and free download from multi-basin and large-scale applications of the HYPE model world-wide. Each model domain is version managed and further developed in an incremental way in close cooperation with various end-users. The following HYPE models have been set-up so far:


Table 1. Large scale HYPE model applications available at HYPEWeb.

Large scale multi basin HYPE model applications 2014 Enlarge Image