Continental Hydrologic Intercomparison Project, Phase 1: A Large-Scale Hydrologic Model Comparison Over the Continental United States

Danielle Tijerina, Laura Condon, Katelyn FitzGerald, Aubrey Dugger, Mary Michael O’Neill, Kevin Sampson, David Gochis, Reed Maxwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


High-resolution, coupled, process-based hydrology models, in which subsurface, land-surface, and energy budget processes are represented, have been applied at the basin-scale to ask a wide range of water science questions. Recently, these models have been developed at continental scales with applications in operational flood forecasting, hydrologic prediction, and process representation. As use of large-scale model configurations increases, it is exceedingly important to have a common method for performance evaluation and validation, particularly given challenges associated with accurately representing large domains. Here, we present phase 1 of a comparison project for continental-scale, high-resolution, processed-based hydrologic models entitled the Continental Hydrologic Intercomparison Project (CHIP). The first phase of CHIP is based on past Earth System Model intercomparisons and comprised of a two-model proof of concept comparing the ParFlow-CONUS hydrologic model, version 1.0 and a NOAA US National Water Model configuration of WRF-Hydro, version 1.2. The objectives of CHIP phase 1 are: (a) describe model physics and components, (b) design an experiment to ensure a fair comparison, and (b) assess simulated streamflow with observations to better understand model bias. To our knowledge, this is the first comparison of continental-scale, high-resolution, physics-based models which incorporate lateral subsurface flow. This model intercomparison is an initial step toward a continued effort to unravel process, parameter, and formulation differences in current large-scale hydrologic models and to engage the hydrology community in improving hydrology model configuration and process representation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020WR028931
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


  • continental-scale model
  • hydrologic modeling
  • integrated model
  • model intercomparison
  • streamflow


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