Scale-Dependent Value of QPF for Real-Time Streamflow Forecasting

Incorporating rainfall forecasts into a real-time streamflow forecasting system extends the forecast lead time.  This study explores the problem systematically, exploring the uncertainties associated with QPFs and their hydrologic predictability. The focus is on scale dependence of the trade-off between the QPF time horizon, basin-scale, space-time scale of the QPF, and streamflow forecasting accuracy. To address this question, the study first performs a comprehensive independent evaluation of the QPFs at 140 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) monitored basins with a wide range of spatial scales (~10 – 40,000 km2) over the state of Iowa in the Midwestern United States.