Helmholtz Water Network

Research Platform 5: Integrated modelling and model benchmarking


Photo: André Künzelmann, UFZ

Hydrologic Models in the course of time

Within the water science community a wide range of hydrological models exist that were originally developed for describing specific hydrological processes, fluxes and storages at different time and space scales. In recent years, hydrology has moved far beyond its original scope, both with respect to detail and thematic boundaries. Hydrologic processes are becoming more and more interlinked with the processes taking place within the atmosphere, vegetation and the groundwater compartment. Designing more complex hydrological models or coupling different hydrological models today has become a widespread approach in the hydrological community worldwide.

Research focus

The focus is set to the creation of a large ensemble of structurally different but comparable hydrological models with the aim to quantify the sensitivity and the predictive uncertainty on hydrological models conditioned on high dimensional spatially resolved observation.

In addition, in order to deliver comprehensive uncertainty estimates for the hydrological system to decision makers the uncertainty of future weather and climate projections will be propagated through the ensemble of hydrological models.

Work package 1: Model Concepts and Model Structures

Work package 2: Model Benchmarking

Work package 3: Data Integration and Software development

Interfaces within the Helmholtz Water Network:


Research within the Helmholtz Association (POF III):

  • Research Programme "Terrestrial Environment", Topic "Terrestrial Systems: From Observation to Prediction" (Integrated Project "From Models to Predictions" (UFZ, FZJ)
  • Helmholtz – Chinese Academy of Sciences Network: Research Centre for Environmental Information Science (RCEIS) (Coordination: UFZ, contribution: DLR, FZJ, KIT, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS))



  • JUQUEEN - Supercomputing Platform (FZJ)
  • VISLAB - Visualization Center (UFZ)
  • TERENO - Terrestrial Environmental Observatories (Coordination: FZJ, UFZ, KIT, HMGU, GFZ, DLR, with the involvement of many universities)

Projects and further activities:

  • HPSC TerrSys - Centre for High-Performance Scientific Computing in Terrestrial Systems (FZL, Universities in Köln, Bonn und Aachen)
  • V-FOR-WaTer: Virtuelle Forschungsumgebung für die Wasser- und Terrestrische Umweltforschung (KIT)
  • Drought Monitor Germany (Coordination: UFZ)
  • DFG-SFB 1076: AquaDiva (Coordination: University Jena, contribution: UFZ, MPI-BCG, IPHT)
  • DFG-research Group 2131: „Data Assimilation for Improved Characterization of Fluxes across Compartmental Interfaces“ (Coordination Universität Bonn, contribution: KIT, FZJ, UFZ, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)
  • International Project "Water availabilty for ungauged rivers" (U.S. Geological Survey, IRSTEA, University of Bristol, Vienna University of Technology, University of Zurich, NIWA, NCAR, SMHI, UFZ)
  • DFG Research group 1320: Crop Sequence and the Nutrient Acquisition from the Subsoil (Coordination: University Bonn, contribution: FZJ, HMGU, University Bayreuth, UFZ)
  • HYDRO BENCH PLATFORM - A community initiative for hydrological benchmarking and model comparison (FZJ, KIT, UFZ, TU Potsdam, TU München)

Completed projects:

  • PREFEED: Long Term Land Use - Precipitation Feedbacks in the Hai River and Poyang Lake Regions (KIT)
  • INFLUINS - Integrierte Fluiddynamik in Sedimentbecken (Coordination: Friedrich-Schiller University Jena, contribution: UFZ, GFZ)
  • DFG-Project: The Jena Experiment (Coordination: Friedrich-Schiller University Jena, contribution: UFZ, TUM)


Download brochure Helmholtz Water Network



07.-09.06.2017: International ICLEA Symposium „Climate Change and Landscape Evolution in North Central Europe“ (GFZ)

04.-18.8.2017 CAWR International Summer School "Network functional dynamics -
Technological, Human & Ecological Dimensions

Direct links:


Dr. Christiane Katterfeld
Phone: +49 391 8109101