Hydrological models are today used for simulating extreme floods with the purpose of designing dams and spillways. In doing so, an extrapolation beyond the floods of the calibration period is made. This paper addresses this problem in connection to the HBV hydrological model. The model component describing flood dynamics, the runoff-response function, is studied. The methodology has been to calibrate different runoff-response functions over small to moderately large floods and to verify the performance over independent periods containing large experienced floods. Furthermore, the different model versions were run with extreme rainfall in order to generate design floods. It was found that the five-parameter response function of the original HBV model could be replaced by nonlinear functions including fewer parameters. However, it was difficult to select any response function formulation as significantly better than the others when extreme floods larger than those of the calibration period were simulated.

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