Simulating Human Water Regulation: The Development of an Optimal Complexity, Climate-Adaptive Reservoir Management Model for an LSM
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1175/jhm-d-15-0056.1
Abstract The widespread influence of reservoirs on global rivers makes representations of reservoir outflow and storage essential components of large-scale hydrology and climate simulations across the land surface and atmosphere. Yet, reservoirs have yet to be commonly integrated into earth system models. This deficiency influences model processes such as evaporation and runoff, which are critical for accurate simulations of the coupled climate system. This study describes the development of a generalized reservoir model capable of reproducing realistic reservoir behavior for future integration in a global land surface model (LSM). Equations of increasing complexity relating reservoir inflow, outflow, and storage were tested for 14 California reservoirs that span a range of spatial and climate regimes. Temperature was employed in model equations to modulate seasonal changes in reservoir management behavior and to allow for the evolution of management seasonality as future climate varies. Optimized parameter values for the best-performing model were generalized based on the ratio of winter inflow to storage capacity so a future LSM user can generate reservoirs in any grid location by specifying the given storage capacity. Model performance statistics show good agreement between observed and simulated reservoir storage and outflow for both calibration (mean normalized RMSE = 0.48; mean coefficient of determination = 0.53) and validation reservoirs (mean normalized RMSE = 0.15; mean coefficient of determination = 0.67). The low complexity of model equations that include climate-adaptive operation features combined with robust model performance show promise for simulations of reservoir impacts on hydrology and climate within an LSM.