Technical Note: Initial assessment of a multi-method approach to spring-flood forecasting in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Hydropower is a major energy source in Sweden, and proper reservoir management prior to the spring-flood onset is crucial for optimal production. This requires accurate forecasts of the accumulated discharge in the spring-flood period (i.e. the spring-flood volume, SFV). Today's SFV forecasts are generated using a model-based climatological ensemble approach, where time series of precipitation and temperature from historical years are used to force a calibrated and initialized set-up of the HBV model. In this study, a number of new approaches to spring-flood forecasting that reflect the latest developments with respect to analysis and modelling on seasonal timescales are presented and evaluated. Three main approaches, represented by specific methods, are evaluated in SFV hindcasts for the Swedish river Vindelälven over a 10-year period with lead times between 0 and 4 months. In the first approach, historically analogue years with respect to the climate in the period preceding the spring flood are identified and used to compose a reduced ensemble. In the second, seasonal meteorological ensemble forecasts are used to drive the HBV model over the spring-flood period. In the third approach, statistical relationships between SFV and the large-sale atmospheric circulation are used to build forecast models. None of the new approaches consistently outperform the climatological ensemble approach, but for early forecasts improvements of up to 25% are found. This potential is reasonably well realized in a multi-method system, which over all forecast dates reduced the error in SFV by ∼4%. This improvement is limited but potentially significant for e.g. energy trading.


External organisations
  • Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Water Engineering
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-667
Number of pages9
JournalHydrology and Earth System Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 10
Publication categoryResearch