Uncertainty-based calibration and prediction with a stormwater surface accumulation-washoff model based on coverage of sampled Zn, Cu, Pb and Cd field data

Erik Ulfson Lindblom, S. Ahlman, Peter Steen Mikkelsen

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A dynamic conceptual and lumped accumulation wash-off model (SEWSYS) is uncertainty-calibrated with Zn, Cu, Pb and Cd field data from an intensive, detailed monitoring campaign. We use the generalized linear uncertainty estimation (GLUE) technique in combination with the Metropolis algorithm, which allows identifying a range of behavioral model parameter sets. The small catchment size and nearness of the rain gauge justified excluding the hydrological model parameters from the uncertainty assessment. Uniform, closed prior distributions were heuristically specified for the dry and wet removal parameters, which allowed using an open not specified uniform prior for the dry deposition parameter. We used an exponential likelihood function based on the sum of squared errors between observed and simulated event masses and adjusted a scaling factor to cover 95% of the observations within the empirical 95% model prediction bounds. A positive correlation between the dry deposition and the dry (wind) removal rates was revealed as well as a negative correlation between the wet removal (wash-off) rate and the ratio between the dry deposition and wind removal rates, which determines the maximum pool of accumulated metal available on the conceptual catchment surface. Forward Monte Carlo analysis based on the posterior parameter sets covered 95% of the observed event mean concentrations, and 95% prediction quantiles for site mean concentrations were estimated to 470 μg/l ±20% for Zn, 295 μg/l ±40% for Cu, 20 μg/l ±80% for Pb and 0.6 μg/l ±35% for Cd. This uncertainty-based calibration procedure adequately describes the prediction uncertainty conditioned on the used model and data, but seasonal and site-to-site variation is not considered, i.e. predicting metal concentrations in stormwater runoff from gauged as well as ungauged catchments with the SEWSYS model is generally more uncertain than the indicated numbers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWater Research
Issue number13
Pages (from-to)3823-3835
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Dynamic conceptual model
  • Heavy metals
  • GLUE
  • Stormwater
  • Sampled event mass
  • Site mean concentration

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