Effect of snow on mountain river regimes: an example from the Pyrenees
- 144 Downloads
The purpose of this study was to characterize mountain river regimes in the Spanish Pyrenees and to assess the importance of snow accumulation and snowmelt on the timing of river flows. Daily streamflow data from 9 gauging stations in the Pyrenees were used to characterize river regimes. These data were analyzed by hydrological indices, with a focus on periods when snow accumulation and snowmelt occurred. These results were combined with data on Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) (from measurements of depth and density of snow in the main river basins and also simulated by a process-based hydrological model), snowmelting (simulated by a process-based hydrological model), precipitation (from observations), and temperature (from observations). Longitude and elevation gradients in the Pyrenees explain the transition of river regimes from those that mostly had low nival signals (in the west and at low elevations) to those that mostly had high nival signals (low winter runoff and late spring peakflow, in the east and at high elevations). Although trend analyses indicated no statistically significant changes, there was a trend of decreased nival signal over time in most of the analyzed rivers. Our results also demonstrated that snow processes cannot explain all of the interannual variability of river regimes, because the temporal distribution of liquid precipitation and temperature play key roles in hydrography.
Keywordsriver regime precipitation snow indices Spanish Pyrenees streamflow
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
This study was funded by the research project CGL2014-52599-P, “Estudio del manto de nieve en la montaña española y su respuesta a la variabilidad y cambio climatico” from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. The authors thank the ERHIN program for providing the snow data used in this study.
- Bard A, Renard B, Lang M (2010). Observed trends in the hydrologic regime of Alpine catchments. In: EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts, vol. 12, p. 11627Google Scholar
- García-Ruiz J M, Puigdefábregas T J, Creus-Novau J (1985). Los recursos hídricos superficiales del Alto Aragón. Huesca: Instituto de Estudios AltoaragonesesGoogle Scholar
- Jolliffe I (2002). Principal Component Analysis and Factor Analysis. Principal Component Analysis. Springer Series in Statistics, 150–166Google Scholar
- Kendall M (1975). Multivariate Analysis. London: Charles GriffinGoogle Scholar
- López-Moreno J I, Fassnacht S R, Heath J T, Musselman K N, Revuelto J, Latron J, Morán-Tejeda E, Jonas T (2013). Small scale spatial variability of snow density and depth over complex alpine terrain: implications for estimating snow water equivalent. Adv Water Resour, 55: 40–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- López-Moreno J I, García-Ruiz J M (2004). Influence of snow accumulation and snowmelt on streamflow in the central Spanish Pyrenees. Hydrol Sci J, 49(5) doi: 10.1623/hysj.49.5.787.55135Google Scholar
- Moore J N, Harper J T, Greenwood M C (2007). Significance of trends toward earlier snowmelt runoff, Columbia and Missouri Basin headwaters, western United States. Geophys Res Lett, 34(16) doi: 10.1029/2007GL031022Google Scholar
- Morán-Tejeda E, Zabalza J, Rahman K, Gago-Silva A, López-Moreno J I, Vicente-Serrano S, Lehmann A, Tague C L, Beniston M (2015). Hydrological impacts of climate and land-use changes in a mountain watershed: uncertainty estimation based on model comparison. Ecohydrology, 8(8): 1396–1416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Peña J, Lozano M (2004). Las unidades del relieve aragonés, Geografía Física de Aragón, Aspectos Generales Y Temáticos. Zaragoza: Universidad de ZaragozaGoogle Scholar
- Poff N, Brinson M M, Day J (2002). Aquatic ecosystems and global climate change. Arlington: Pew Center on Global Climate ChangeGoogle Scholar
- Revuelto-Benedí J, López-Moreno J I, Morán-Tejada E, Fassnacht S R, Vicente-Serrano S M (2012). Variabilidad interanual del manto de nieve en el Pirineo: tendencias observadas y su relación con índices de teleconexión durante el periodo 1985-2011. In: 8° Congreso Internacional sobre Cambio climático, Extremos e Impactos. Salamanca: Asociación Española de Climatología, 613–621Google Scholar
- Viviroli D, Dürr H H, Messerli B, Meybeck M, Weingartner R (2007). Mountains of the world, water towers for humanity: typology, mapping, and global significance. Water Resour Res, 43(7): doi: 10.1029/2006WR005653Google Scholar