It has been determined that mountain catchements are very sensible to temperature changes, this is why climate change can have drastical impacts on the hydrological cycle. It can therefore be stated that climate change is likely to impact the seasonality and generation processes of floods, which has direct implications for flood risk assessment, design flood estimation, and hydropower production management. This indicates the importance of up to date and accurate hydrological modeling of high mountain basins, by taking into account the quantification of snow accumulation in winter and snowmelt in spring.

Paper Abstract

The success of hydrological modeling of a high mountain basin depends in most case on the accurate quantification of the snowmelt. However, mathematically modeling snowmelt is not a simple task due to, on one hand, the high number of variables that can be relevant and can change significantly in space and, in the other hand, the low availability of most of them in practical engineering. Therefore, this research proposes to modify the original equation of the classical degree-day model to introduce the spatial and temporal variability of the degree-day factor. To evaluate the effects of the variability in the hydrological modeling and the snowmelt modeling at the cell and hillslope scale. This paper proposes to introduce the spatial and temporal variability of the degree-day factor using maps of radiation indices. These maps consider the position of the sun according to the time of year, solar radiation, insolation, topography and shaded-relief topography. Our priority has been to keep the parsimony of the snowmelt model that can be implemented in high mountain basins with limited observed input. The snowmelt model was included as a new module in the TETIS distributed hydrological model. The results show significant improvements in hydrological modeling in the spring period when the snowmelt is more important. At cell and hillslope scale errors are diminished in the snowpack, improving the representation of the flows and storages that intervene in high mountain basins.

Read the paper in full

Ismael Orozco, Félix Francés, and Jesús Mora. 'Parsimonious Modeling of Snow Accumulation and Snowmelt Processes in High Mountain Basins.' Water (2019):


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