A linear dynamical systems approach to streamflow reconstruction reveals history of regime shifts in northern Thailand

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1002/2017WR022114. This is version 2 of this Preprint.

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Hung Tan Thai Nguyen, Stefano Galelli


Catchment dynamics is not often modeled in streamflow reconstruction studies; yet, the streamflow generation process depends on both catchment state and climatic inputs. To explicitly account for this interaction, we contribute a linear dynamic model, in which streamflow is a function of both catchment state (i.e., wet/dry) and paleo-climatic proxies. The model is learned using a novel variant of the Expectation-Maximization algorithm, and it is used with a paleo drought record—the Monsoon Asia Drought Atlas—to reconstruct 406 years of streamflow for the Ping River (northern Thailand). Results for the instrumental period show that the dynamic model has higher accuracy than conventional linear regression; all performance scores increase by 45–497%. Furthermore, the reconstructed trajectory of the state variable provides valuable insights about the catchment history—e.g., regime-like behavior—thereby complementing the information contained in the reconstructed streamflow time series. The proposed technique can replace linear regression, since it only requires information on streamflow and climatic proxies (e.g., tree-rings, drought indices); furthermore, it is capable of readily generating stochastic streamflow replicates. With a marginal increase in computational requirements, the dynamic model brings more desirable features and value to streamflow reconstructions.




Applied Mathematics, Dynamic Systems, Earth Sciences, Hydrology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Chao Phraya River Basin, dynamic streamflow reconstruction, paleo reconstructed data, Ping River, regime shifts, stochastic streamflow generator, Thailand


Published: 2017-11-01 17:28

Last Updated: 2018-03-02 17:57

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