Validation and applicability of distributed hydrological models

Jens Christian Refsgaard, Borge Storm, Anders Refsgaard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingspeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, distributed, physically based hydrological models are being developed and applied more and more. At the same time, contradictions are emerging regarding claims of model applicability on the one hand and lack of validation of these claims on the other hand. In this connection the necessity of applying a rigorous validation methodology becomes obvious. The present paper presents an outline of a general methodology with special emphasis on the additional requirements for distributed models as compared to lumped rainfall-runoff models. A case study on validation and inter-comparison of three different models on catchments in Zimbabwe is described. The three models represent a lumped, conceptual model (NAM), a distributed, physically based model (MIKE SHE) and an intermediate approach (WATBAL). On the basis of these results and the authors' other experience, a discussion is given on the applicability and associated validation requirements for different types of hydrological models.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 1995 XXI General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
EditorsSlobodan P. Simonovic, Z. Kundzewicz, D. Rosbjerg, K. Takeuchi
PublisherInternational Association of Hydrological Sciences
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)978-0947571597
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes
Event1995 International Symposium on Modelling and Management of Sustainable Basin-Scale Water Resource Systems - Boulder, United States
Duration: 1 Jul 199514 Jul 1995

Publication series

NameIAHS Publication
ISSN (Print)0144-7815


Conference1995 International Symposium on Modelling and Management of Sustainable Basin-Scale Water Resource Systems
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


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