Integrating Climate Forecasts with the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) for High-Resolution Hydrologic Simulations and Forecasts in the Southeastern U.S.
Ogejo, Jactone Arogo
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This study provides high-resolution modeling of daily water budget components at Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC)-12 resolution for 50 watersheds of the South Atlantic Gulf (SAG) region in the southeastern U.S. (SEUS) by implementing the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model in the form of a near real-time, semi-automated framework. A near real-time hydrologic simulation framework is implemented with a lead time of nine months (March–December 2017) by integrating the calibrated SWAT model with National Centers for Environmental Prediction coupled forecast system model version 2 (CFSv2) weather data to forecast daily water balance components. The modeling exercise is conducted as a precursor for various future hydrologic studies (retrospective or forecasting) for the region by providing a calibrated hydrological dataset at high spatial (HUC-12) and temporal (1-day) resolution. The models are calibrated (January 2003–December 2010) and validated (January 2011–December 2013) for each watershed using the observed streamflow data from 50 United States Geological Survey (USGS) gauging stations. The water balance analysis for the region shows that the implemented models satisfactorily represent the hydrology of the region across different sub-regions (Appalachian highlands, plains, and coastal wetlands) and seasons. While CFSv2-driven SWAT models are able to provide reasonable performance in near real-time and can be used for decision making in the region, caution is advised for using model outputs as the streamflow forecasts display significant deviation from observed streamflow for all watersheds for lead times greater than a month.