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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-158
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Technical note
30 Mar 2017
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Technical Note: Representing glacier dynamics in a semi-distributed hydrological model
Jan Seibert1, Marc J. P. Vis1, Irene Kohn2, Markus Weiler2, and Kerstin Stahl2 1Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Zurich, 8057, Switzerland
2Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, University Freiburg, Freiburg, 79098, Germany
Abstract. Glaciers play an important role in high-mountain hydrology. While changing glacier areas are considered of highest importance for the understanding of future changes in runoff, glaciers are often only poorly represented in hydrological models. Most importantly, the direct coupling between the simulated glacier mass balances and changing glacier areas needs feasible solutions. The use of a complex glacier model is often not possible due to data and computational limitations. The Δh-parameterization is a simple approach to consider the spatial variation of glacier thickness and area changes. Here, we describe a conceptual implementation of the Δh-parameterization into the semi-distributed hydrological model HBV-light, which also allows for the representation of glacier advance phases, and comparison between the different versions of the implementation. The coupled glacio-hydrological simulation approach, which could also be implemented in many other semi-distributed hydrological models, is illustrated based on an example application.

Citation: Seibert, J., Vis, M. J. P., Kohn, I., Weiler, M., and Stahl, K.: Technical Note: Representing glacier dynamics in a semi-distributed hydrological model, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-158, in review, 2017.
Jan Seibert et al.
Jan Seibert et al.
Jan Seibert et al.

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Short summary
In many glaciohydrological models glacier areas are assumed to be constant over time, which is a crucial limitation. Here we describe a novel approach to translate mass balances as simulated by the (glacio)hydrological model into glacier-area changes. We combined the Δ − h approach of Huss et al. (2010) with the bucket-type model HBV and introduced a lookup table approach, which allows representing also periods with advancing glaciers, which is not possible with the original Huss-method.
In many glaciohydrological models glacier areas are assumed to be constant over time, which is a...
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