Influence of slope-scale snowmelt on catchment response simulated with the Alpine3D model The files contain Alpine3D output used to generate the graphs in the manuscript



Snow and hydrological modeling in alpine environments remains a challenge because of the complexity of the processes complexity affecting the mass and energy balance. This study examines the influence of snowmelt on the hydrological response of a high-alpine catchment of 43.2 km2 in the Swiss Alps during the water year 2014-2015. Based on recent advances in Alpine3D, we examine how modeled snow distributions, and modeled liquid water transport within the snowpack influence runoff dynamics. By combining these results with multi-scale field data (snow lysimeter data, distributed snow depths and streamflow), we demonstrate the added value of a more realistic representation of snow distribution at the onset of melt season. At the site scale, snowpack runoff is well simulated when the snowpack mass balance errors are corrected (R2 = 0.95 vs. R2 = 0.61). At the sub-basin scale, a more heterogeneous snowpack leads to a more rapid runoff pulse originated in the shallower areas while an extended melting period (by more than a month) is caused by slower snowmelt from deeper areas. This result is a marked improvement over results obtained using a less heterogeneous snow distribution (i.e., traditional precipitation interpolation method). Catchment hydrological response is also improved by the more realistic representation of snowpack heterogeneity (Nash coefficient of 0.85 vs. 0.74), even though the calibration process smoothens out the differences. The added value of a more complex liquid water transport scheme is obvious at the site scale but decreases at the sub-basin and basin scales. Our results highlight not only the importance but also the difficulty of getting a realistic snowpack distribution even in a well-instrumented area and present a model validation from multi-scale experimental datasets.

Related Identifier
Metadata Access
Creator Tristan Brauchli
Publisher Water Resources Research
Contributor EnviDat
Publication Year 2017
Rights License not specified
Contact Tristan Brauchli
Language English
Resource Type Dataset
Format ZIP
Discipline Environmental Research
Spatial Coverage (47N-47N,10E-10E)
Temporal Point 2017-12-07T11:59:59Z