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9 Statistical Upscaling and Downscaling in Hydrology

Part 1. Theory, Organization and Scale

  1. Günter Blöschl

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa008

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

Blöschl, G. 2006. Statistical Upscaling and Downscaling in Hydrology. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 1:9.

Author Information

  1. Institute for Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineering, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


Upscaling and downscaling methods are needed to transfer information from small-scale data to large-scale predictions and vice versa. There are two types of methods; methods focusing on how the equations and parameters of dynamic models change with scale, which are treated in other articles of this Encyclopedia, and methods focusing on how to best represent variability statistically, which is the subject of this article. This article gives a brief overview of scale concepts and illustrates first-order effects of upscaling and downscaling. The most important statistical upscaling/downscaling methods are then reviewed for various hydrological processes – rainfall, floods, soil moisture, and subsurface flow and transport.


  • aggregation;
  • disaggregation;
  • flood frequency;
  • fractals;
  • global circulation models;
  • groundwater;
  • media generation;
  • rainfall;
  • sampling;
  • scale;
  • soil moisture;
  • stochastic rainfall models;
  • topographic index;
  • variogram