Water Resources Research

Assessing the Birkenes Model of stream acidification using a multisignal calibration methodology


  • Richard P. Hooper,

  • Alex Stone,

  • Nils Christophersen,

  • Ed de Grosbois,

  • Hans M. Seip


A revision of the Birkenes model of streamwater acidification has been attempted to incorporate additional chemical and hydrologic information gained in the last 6 years since its original construction. The first stage of this effort has been an analysis of the hydrologic submodel with the goal of extending it to predict concentrations of a conservative tracer in streamwater. An objective calibration of the model indicated that the model is overparameterized. Only one passive store is identifiabile, not two as currently contained in the model and the routing between the two reservoirs is not determined by the data. Inclusion of the conservative tracer improved the identifiability of the dimensional parameters, but had little effect on the rate or routing parameters. If the hydrologic structure is to be determined from the hydrograph and conservative tracer alone, it must be simplified to eliminate unidentifiable parameters. The validity of using more complex rainfall-runoff models in hydrochemical models which seek to test chemical mechanisms is called into question by this analysis.