Abstract

Hydrological models are simplified imitations of natural and man-made water systems, and because of this simplification, always deal with inherent uncertainty. To develop more rigorous modeling procedures and to provide more reliable results, it is inevitable to consider and estimate this uncertainty. Although there are different approaches in the literature to assess the parametric uncertainty of hydrological models, their structures and results have rarely been compared systematically. In this research, two different approaches to analyze parametric uncertainty, namely direct and inverse methods are compared and contrasted. While the direct method employs a sampling simulation procedure to generate posterior distributions of parameters, the inverse method utilizes an optimization-based approach to optimize parameter sets of an interval-based hydrological model. Two different hydrological models and case studies are employed, and the models are set by two distinct mathematical operations of interval mathematics. Findings of this research show that while the choice of the interval mathematic method can affect the final results, generally, the inverse method cannot be counted on as a reliable tool to analyze the parametric uncertainty of hydrological models, and the direct method provides more accurate results.

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Supplementary data