Frontiers of Earth Science

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 18–32 | Cite as

Parameter transferability across spatial resolutions in urban hydrological modelling: a case study in Beijing, China

  • Xiaoshu Hou
  • Lei Chen
  • Xiang Liu
  • Miao Li
  • Zhenyao ShenEmail author
Research Article


This study examined the influence of spatial resolution on model parameterization, output, and the parameter transferability between different resolutions using the Storm Water Management Model. High-resolution models, in which most subcatchments were homogeneous, and high-resolution-based low-resolution models (in 3 scenarios) were constructed for a highly urbanized catchment in Beijing. The results indicated that the parameterization and simulation results were affected by both spatial resolution and rainfall characteristics. The simulated peak inflow and total runoff volume were sensitive to the spatial resolution, but did not show a consistent tendency. High-resolution models performed very well for both calibration and validation events in terms of three indexes: 1) the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency, 2) the peak flow error, and 3) the volume error; indication of the advantage of using these models. The parameters obtained from high-resolution models could be directly used in the low-resolution models and performed well in the simulation of heavy rain and torrential rain and in the study area where sub-area routing is insignificant. Alternatively, sub-area routing should be considered and estimated approximately. The successful scale conversion from high spatial resolution to low spatial resolution is of great significance for the hydrological simulation of ungauged large areas.


SWMM high resolution low resolution rainfall characteristics parameter transferability 


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This project was supported by the State Key Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41530635), the Fund for Innovative Research Group of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51421065), Open Research Fund Program of Key Laboratory of Urban Storm Water System and Water Environment, Ministry of Education.


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoshu Hou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lei Chen
    • 1
  • Xiang Liu
    • 2
  • Miao Li
    • 2
  • Zhenyao Shen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of EnvironmentBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of EnvironmentTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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