HydroPy (v1.0): a new global hydrology model written in Python


Global hydrological models (GHMs) are a useful tool in the assessment of the land surface water balance. They are used to further the understanding of interactions between water balance components and their past evolution as well as potential future development under various scenarios. While GHMs have been part of the hydrologist's toolbox for several decades, the models are continuously being developed. In our study, we present the HydroPy model, a revised version of an established GHM, the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology's Hydrology Model (MPI-HM). Being rewritten in Python, the new model requires much less effort in maintenance, and due to its flexible infrastructure, new processes can be easily implemented. Besides providing a thorough documentation of the processes currently implemented in HydroPy, we demonstrate the skill of the model in simulating the land surface water balance. We find that evapotranspiration is reproduced realistically for the majority of the land surface but is underestimated in the tropics. The simulated river discharge correlates well with observations. Biases are evident for the annual accumulated discharge; however, they can – at least to some extent – be attributed to discrepancies between the meteorological model forcing data and the observations. Finally, we show that HydroPy performs very similarly to MPI-HM and thus conclude the successful transition from MPI-HM to HydroPy.
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