Hydrologic models are useful to understand the effects of climate and land‐use changes on dry‐season flows. In practice, there is often a trade‐off between simplicity and accuracy, especially when resources for catchment management are scarce. Here, we evaluated the performance of a monthly rainfall–runoff model (dynamic water balance model, DWBM) for dry‐season flow prediction under climate and land‐use change. Using different methods with decreasing amounts of catchment information to set the four model parameters, we predicted dry‐season flow for 89 Australian catchments and verified model performance with an independent dataset of 641 catchments in the United States. For the Australian catchments, model performance without catchment information (other than climate forcing) was fair; it increased significantly as the information to infer the four model parameters increased. Regressions to infer model parameters from catchment characteristics did not hold for catchments in the United States, meaning that a new calibration effort was needed to increase model performance there. Recognizing the interest in relative change for practical applications, we also examined how DWBM could be used to simulate a change in dry‐season flow following land‐use change. We compared results with and without calibration data and showed that predictions of changes in dry‐season flow were robust with respect to uncertainty in model parameters. Our analyses confirm that climate is a strong driver of dry‐season flow and that parsimonious models such as DWBM have useful management applications: predicting seasonal flow under various climate forcings when calibration data are available and providing estimates of the relative effect of land use on seasonal flow for ungauged catchments.
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Hamel, Perrine; Guswa, Andrew John; Sahl, Jake; and Zhang, Lu, "Predicting Dry‐Season Flows with a Monthly Rainfall–Runoff Model: Performance for Gauged and Ungauged Catchments" (2017). Engineering: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.