Hydrologic and water quality models: Key calibration and validation topics

D. N. Moriasi, R. W. Zeckoski, J. G. Arnold, C. B. Baffaut, R. W. Malone, P. Daggupati, J. A. Guzman, D. Saraswat, Y. Yuan, B. W. Wilson, A. Shirmohammadi, K. R. Douglas-Mankin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a continuation of efforts to provide a common background and platform for development of calibration and validation (C/V) guidelines for hydrologic and water quality (H/WQ) modeling, ASABE members worked to determine critical topics related to model C/V, perform a synthesis of a previously published special collection of articles and other relevant literature, and provide topic-specific recommendations based on the synthesis as well as personal modeling expertise. This article introduces a special collection of nine research articles covering key topics related to calibration and validation of H/WQ models. The topics include: terminology, hydrologic processes and model representation, spatial and temporal scales, model parameterization, C/V strategies, sensitivity, uncertainty, performance measures and criteria, and documentation and reporting. The main objective of this introductory article is to introduce and summarize key aspects of these topics, including recommendations. Individually, the articles provide model practitioners with detailed topic-specific recommendations related to model calibration, validation, and use. Collectively, the articles present recommendations to enhance H/WQ modeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1609-1618
Number of pages10
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Calibration
  • Guidelines
  • Hydrologic models
  • Recommendations
  • Synthesis
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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