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Investigating the performance of SWAT and IHACRES in simulation streamflow under different climatic regions in Iran

Abazar Esmali, Mohammad Golshan, Ataollah Kavian

Abstract

It is often reported that simpler models, due to their low parameter requirements, perform better than more complex models. To test this, the current study compared a simple rainfall-runoff model (IHACRES) with a complex watershed model (SWAT). Based on these two approaches, six models were developed for three climatically distinct (arid, semi-arid and semi-humid) watersheds in Iran. The coefficient of determination (R2) and the Nash-Sutcliffe model efficiency coefficient (NS) were calculated in each case. In arid, semi-arid, and semi-humid watersheds the SWAT model (R2 = 0.52, 0.68, 0.66; NS = 0.54, 0.63, 0.64, respectively) outperformed the IHACRES model (R2 = 0.37, 0.70, 0.57; NS = 0.22, 0.57, 0.56, respectively) for the same respective climate zones. Overall, SWAT performed better than IHACRES, although both models had acceptable performances in the semi-arid and semi-humid watersheds. In the arid watershed, the IHACRES model performed poorly compared to SWAT.

Keywords

Climate; IHACRES; Iran; Runoff; Simulation; SWAT

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