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Analyzing Spatio-Temporal Hydrological Processes and Related Gradients to Improve Hydrological Modeling in High Mountains

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Landform - Structure, Evolution, Process Control

Part of the book series: Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences ((LNEARTH,volume 115))

Abstract

Mountain hydrology suffers from insufficient data availability and partly coarse process understanding. But the improvement of our process knowledge is the key to manage the mountain water resources in present and future. Hydrological models like WaSiM-ETH are used to simulate the water balance in areas were less data are available. The validation and estimation of (un-)certainties of the model are essential to assess the accuracy and applicability of model results. In this project extensive hydrological data monitoring serve (a) to improve process understanding, (b) to enable multi-validation of the model, and (c) to estimate sensitive hydrological parameter for hydrological modeling. The latter can support the efficient monitoring of unmeasured catchments in future case studies. In this paper, we present the methodological concept, the monitoring program and preliminary results. Soil moisture was analyzed for 2007 in reliance on elevation and exposition and found to be highly variable at all investigated plots. But, a superior dynamic was found that can be characterized by a drying period after snow melt, a rise due to high precipitation amounts, and a following second drying period in autumn. The superior dynamic of soil moisture has to be interpreted as a direct function of temporal precipitation distribution. Measurements show that low soil moistures (9% vol) during dry periods occur at lower elevations (up to 1800 m) and lead to drought stress for plants. In contrast, soil moisture at higher altitudes (1800–2700 m) never attains a critical level for plants. Moreover, a slight increase of soil moisture with altitude can be derived. The dynamic of storages like soil moisture, snow and glaciers play a key role to characterize the alpine water balance. The validation of these storages at the same time is therefore very important to assess the accuracy and certainty of the model results and has not yet been conducted for WaSiM-ETH. Monitored microscale processes and mesoscale gradients are to be applied to a macroscalic catchment using the multi-validated model to ensure precise estimation of mountain water balance. Finally, the most crucial parameter and processes for hydrological modeling with WaSiM-ETH can be derived to improve the efficiency of future monitoring.

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Correspondence to Ole Rößler .

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Rößler, O., Löffler, J. (2009). Analyzing Spatio-Temporal Hydrological Processes and Related Gradients to Improve Hydrological Modeling in High Mountains. In: Otto, JC., Dikau, R. (eds) Landform - Structure, Evolution, Process Control. Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences, vol 115. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-75761-0_15

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