Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2017, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (5): 546-564.doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1392-6

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Evaluation of the applicability of climate forecast system reanalysis weather data for hydrologic simulation: A case study in the Bahe River Basin of the Qinling Mountains, China

Sheng HU1,2,*(), Haijun QIU1,2(), Dongdong YANG1,2, Mingming CAO1,2, Jinxi SONG1,2, Jiang WU1,2, Chenlu HUANG1,2, Yu GAO3   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Science, Northwest University, Xi’an 710127, China
    2. Institute of Earth Surface System and Hazards, Northwest University, Xi’an 710127, China
    3. Shaanxi Provincial Land Engineering Construction Group, Xi’an 710175, China
  • Received:2016-09-23 Accepted:2016-10-21 Online:2017-05-10 Published:2017-05-10
  • About author:

    Author: Hu Sheng (1988-), PhD Candidate, specialized in hydrology, water resources, and geological disasters. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    International Partnership Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.131551KYSB20160002;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41401602;Natural Science Basic Research Plan in Shaanxi Province of China, No.2014JQ2-4021;Key Scientific and Technological Innovation Team Plan of Shaanxi Province, No.2014KCT-27;Graduate Student Innovation Project of Northwest University, No.YZZ15011


In recent years, global reanalysis weather data has been widely used in hydrological modeling around the world, but the results of simulations vary greatly. To consider the applicability of Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) data in the hydrologic simulation of watersheds, the Bahe River Basin was used as a case study. Two types of weather data (conventional weather data and CFSR weather data) were considered to establish a Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model, which was used to simulate runoff from 2001 to 2012 in the basin at annual and monthly scales. The effect of both datasets on the simulation was assessed using regression analysis, Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE), and Percent Bias (PBIAS). A CFSR weather data correction method was proposed. The main results were as follows. (1) The CFSR climate data was applicable for hydrologic simulation in the Bahe River Basin (R2 of the simulated results above 0.50, NSE above 0.33, and |PBIAS| below 14.8. Although the quality of the CFSR weather data is not perfect, it achieved a satisfactory hydrological simulation after rainfall data correction. (2) The simulated streamflow using the CFSR data was higher than the observed streamflow, which was likely because the estimation of daily rainfall data by CFSR weather data resulted in more rainy days and stronger rainfall intensity than was actually observed. Therefore, the data simulated a higher base flow and flood peak discharge in terms of the water balance, except for some individual years. (3) The relation between the CFSR rainfall data (x) and the observed rainfall data (y) could be represented by a power exponent equation: y=1.4789x0.8875 (R2=0.98,P<0.001). There was a slight variation between the fitted equations for each station. The equation provides a theoretical basis for the correction of CFSR rainfall data.

Key words: CFSR, weather data, hydrologic simulation, applicability evaluation, SWAT model, Bahe River Basin