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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Environmental Models, Modules, and Datasets

Transferability of SWAT Models between SWAT2009 and SWAT2012


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 43 No. 3, p. 869-880
    Received: Nov 14, 2013
    Published: June 24, 2014

    * Corresponding author(s): jjeong@brc.tamus.edu
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  1. Mijin Seoa,
  2. Haw Yenb,
  3. Min-Kyeong Kimc and
  4. Jaehak Jeong *d
  1. a Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843
    b Blackland Research Center, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Temple, TX 76502
    c National Academy of Agricultural Science, Rural Development Administration, Suwon, Kyeonggi 441-707, Republic of Korea
    d Blackland Research Center, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Temple, TX 76502


In recent years, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) has experienced upgrades with enhanced functionalities and modeling capacities as it gets to the current version, SWAT2012. Changes in the SWAT code on a specific process may result in propagating influences in the output of other related processes. In this study, the characteristic significance of the enhancements in SWAT code was investigated using the two recent versions, SWAT2009 and SWAT2012. Using a global optimization technique, each model was calibrated for flow, sediment, and nutrient and then tested for transferability of parameters between the models. Results indicate that flow and water quality output were well calibrated with both models. However, the calibrated parameters determined by SWAT2009 and SWAT2012 were noticeably different, due mostly to the enhancements made in SWAT2012. Our results indicate that only the stream flow result was reliable when the models were upgraded or downgraded between the two versions after calibration. Sediment prediction was marginally reliable. SWAT parameters were nontransferrable if nutrient was the main output. The differences are due to various reasons, such as disparities in algorithms at the process level and propagation of the resulting uncertainty into higher-order processes.

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