Analysis of the QUESTOR water quality model using a Fourier amplitude sensitivity test (FAST) for two UK rivers

Deflandre, A.; Williams, R. J.; Elorza, F. J.; Mira, J.; Boorman, D. B. ORCID: 2006 Analysis of the QUESTOR water quality model using a Fourier amplitude sensitivity test (FAST) for two UK rivers. Science of the Total Environment, 360. 290-304.

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This paper presents the sensitivity analysis of a well-known in-stream water quality model, QUESTOR (QUality Evaluation and Simulation TOol for River systems) as applied to two rivers of contrasting land-use in the northeast of England: the ‘rural’ Ouse and the ‘urban’ Aire. The analysis employed a version of the Fourier Amplitude Sensitivity Test (FAST) that quantifies the contribution of changes in individual parameters and combination of parameters to the variance of the model output (here the Nash–Sutcliffe) in an efficient way. The quantification of the sensitivity of the model output to the parameters led to the identification of the most influential parameters. Differences between the Aire and the Ouse were found, reflecting their different water quality regime. Results highlighted the importance of interactions between two, or more, parameters on the model output. It led to question the one-at-a-time calibration method currently applied with QUESTOR and underlined the importance of including interactions between parameters in sensitivity analyses. Comparison of the relative influence of parameters versus input data showed contrasting results. In the urban system, the inputs from discharges (sewage treatment works and industrial effluents) were highly influential on model outputs and generally more important than the model parameters. For the rural river, the tributary discharges were most influential, but only at a similar or a lower level than the model parameters.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Water
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: _ Water Quality
ISSN: 0048-9697
Format Availability: Electronic, Print
Additional Keywords: Water quality, Modelling, QUESTOR, Sensitivity analysis, FAST, River, Ouse, Aire, Calder, Rural, Urban
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Date made live: 26 Jun 2007 13:20 +0 (UTC)

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