A process oriented calibration scheme (POC), developed for the HBV hydrological model is presented. Twelve parameters were calibrated in two steps. Firstly, initial parameter estimates were made from recession analysis of observed runoff. Secondly, the parameters were calibrated individually in an iteration loop starting with the snow routine, over the soil routine and finally the runoff-response function. This was done by minimizing different objective functions for different parameters and only over subperiods where the parameters were active. Approximately three hundred and fifty objective function evaluations were needed to find the optimal parameter set, which resulted in a computer time of about 17 hours on a 386 processor PC for a ten-year calibration period. Experiments were also performed with fine tuning as well as direct search of the response surface, where the parameters were allowed to change simultaneously. A calibration period length of between two and six years was found sufficient to find optimal parameters in the test basins. The POC scheme yielded as good model performance as after a manual calibration.

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