Web-Based Platform for Hydrologic Model Evaluation


Iowa Flood Center


Witold Krajewski, Felipe Quintero, and Raymond Hammond

Project Period:

June 2017—present



Services Provided by IFC:

The IFC is developing a web-based platform to report on the performance of the IFC’s Hillslope-Link Model (HLM) that provides real-time stream-stage forecasts for about 2,000 locations in Iowa communities where stream gauge observations are available.

“This study represents our first attempt to extensively evaluate the results of the model, and it provides the basis for their future improvements.” — IFC researcher Felipe Quintero

Project Description:

Since 2012, IFC researchers have operated a real-time hydrologic model to provide flood forecasts and current flood conditions. However, until this project got underway, an exhaustive evaluation of the model’s performance, considering long-term datasets of rainfall observations and discharge projections at multiple locations, was missing. The authors conducted retrospective simulations with the model, using rainfall data from 2009–16. The simulations feature a 15-minute time resolution and are compared to discharge observations of the same resolution. IFC researchers are comparing data from about 140 Iowa locations where observations are available.

Using relational databases and web-based technologies, researchers developed an IFIS-like website that displays information about the model’s performance. To further assess the model’s performance, they produced maps of several metrics, including Nash Sutcliffe efficiency, root mean squared error, mean absolute error of river stages, differences of annual peaks, ratio of hits, misses and false alarms, and timing difference. View the model here.

Map of Iowa showing the performance of an IFC hydrologic model.