Effects of different precipitation inputs on streamflow simulation in the Irrawaddy River Basin, Myanmar

T. A.J.G. Sirisena*, Shreedhar Maskey, Roshanka Ranasinghe, Mukand S. Babel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
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Study region: The Irrawaddy River Basin, Myanmar. Study focus: Precipitation is the most important input variable to numerically simulate the hydrological responses of a river basin. Nowadays, a number of precipitation data products with different spatial and temporal resolutions are available. However, the accuracy of these products may vary greatly and the variations may themselves differ in different river basins. Such differences have direct implications on the use of these datasets in hydrological modelling. Here, using a hydrological model, we investigated the effects of four precipitation datasets (in-situ gauge precipitation with and without interpolation, PERSIANN-CDR, and CHIRPS) on streamflow simulations in the Irrawaddy Basin in Myanmar. New hydrological insights for the study region: We identified considerable differences in streamflow simulation with the use of different precipitation inputs. The four datasets showed varied annual and seasonal precipitation values over the basin. Although the gauge density within the study area is very low, streamflow simulations forced with interpolated gauge data outperformed the models forced with other datasets. However, simulations forced with CHIRPS and PERSIANN-CDR also showed good results in most cases in terms of Nash Efficiency and R2, but mostly with high biases. In calibration, the four precipitation inputs resulted in varied best-fitted parameter values and ranges. All the above observations indicate that the selection of suitable precipitation input(s) is necessary for an accurate investigation of the hydrological responses of any given basin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-278
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Hydrology: Regional Studies
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Irrawaddy River Basin
  • Spatial and temporal variabilities of precipitation
  • Streamflow simulation


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