Why do we have so many different hydrological models? A review based on the case of Switzerland

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: http://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1574. This is version 6 of this Preprint.


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Pascal Horton, Bettina Schaefli , Martina Kauzlaric


Hydrology plays a central role in applied and fundamental environmental sciences, but it is well known to suffer from an overwhelming diversity of models, particularly to simulate streamflow. We discuss here in detail how such diversity did arise based on the example of Switzerland. The case study's relevance stems from the fact that Switzerland, despite of being a small country, shows a variety of hydro-climatological regimes, of water resources management challenges, and of hydrological research institutes that led to a model diversification that stands exemplary for the diversification that arose also at larger scales. Our analysis, based on literature review, personal enquiry and an author survey, summarises the main driving forces behind model diversification. We anticipate that this review not only helps researchers from other fields but in particular also the international hydrology community to understand why we have so many different streamflow models.




Hydrology, Water Resource Management


hydrology, review, modelling, Switzerland


Published: 2021-02-02 08:19

Last Updated: 2021-12-01 21:28

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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