Climatic Change

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 339–363 | Cite as

Effects of climate change on snow accumulation and melting in the Broye catchment (Switzerland)

  • F. Bultot
  • D. Gellens
  • B. Schädler
  • M. Spreafico

Abstract

The study used a daily step conceptual hydrological model to examine the effects of climate change on snowfall accumulation and on snow cover melting in the Broye catchment (moderate relief- altitude from 400 to 1500 m a.s.l.). Five elevation bands representing a range of climatic conditions were used together with three realistic climate change scenarios based loosely on GCM's predictions and which reflect feasible changes by extending time periods. For a very moderate climate change (rise in air temperature of ca 1 °C), possibly in a near future, the reduction of snow cover duration, mean water equivalent and monthly maximum water equivalent is the most sensitive in the lower part of the catchment and during the first and last months of the snow season. In the higher part of the basin and during the colder months January and February, similar reduction rates can be expected in case of larger climate changes. The floods due to the melting of snow cover are lower. Sometimes rainfall, considered as snow in the present day conditions, generates additional floods during the winter season. For winter sports resorts below 1500 m a.s.l., even the very moderate climatic change scenario (temperature rise around 1 °C) leads to economically very difficult conditions. Finally, a climatic change detection index based on snow cover duration is proposed.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Bultot
    • 1
  • D. Gellens
    • 1
  • B. Schädler
    • 2
  • M. Spreafico
    • 2
  1. 1.Hydrology SectionRoyal Meteorological Institute of BelgiumBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Swiss National Hydrological and Geological SurveyBerneSwitzerland

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