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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-2017-309
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
08 Aug 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Projected cryospheric and hydrological impacts of 21st century climate change in the Ötztal Alps (Austria) simulated using a physically based approach
Florian Hanzer1, Kristian Förster1, Johanna Nemec2, and Ulrich Strasser1 1Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
2ENVEO IT GmbH, Innsbruck, Austria
Abstract. A physically based hydroclimatological model (AMUNDSEN) is used to assess future climate change impacts on the cryosphere and hydrology of the Ötztal Alps (Austria) until 2100. The model is run in 100 m spatial and 3 h temporal resolution using in total 31 downscaled, bias-corrected, and temporally disaggregated EURO-CORDEX climate projections for the RCP2.6, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5 scenarios as forcing data. Changes in snow coverage, glacierization, and hydrological regimes are discussed both for a larger area encompassing the Ötztal Alps (1850 km2, 862–3770 m a.s.l.) as well as for seven catchments in the area with varying size (11–16 km2) and glacierization (24–77 %).

Results show generally declining snow amounts with moderate decreases (0–20 % depending on the emission scenario) of mean annual snow water equivalent in high elevations (> 2500 m a.s.l.) until the end of the century, however decreases of 25–80 % in elevations below 1500 m a.s.l. Glaciers in the region will continue to retreat strongly, leaving only 4–20 % of the initial (as of 2006) ice volume left by 2100. Total and summer (JJA) runoff will change little during the early 21st century (2011–2040) with simulated decreases (compared to 1997–2006) of up to 11 % (total) and 13 % (summer) depending on catchment and scenario, whereas runoff volumes decrease by up to 39 % (total) and 47 % (summer) towards the end of the century (2071–2100), accompanied by a shift in peak flows from July towards June.


Citation: Hanzer, F., Förster, K., Nemec, J., and Strasser, U.: Projected cryospheric and hydrological impacts of 21st century climate change in the Ötztal Alps (Austria) simulated using a physically based approach, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-309, in review, 2017.
Florian Hanzer et al.
Florian Hanzer et al.
Florian Hanzer et al.

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Short summary
Climate change effects on snow, glaciers and hydrology are investigated for the Ötztal Alps region (Austria) using a hydroclimatological model driven by climate projections for the RCP2.6, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5 scenarios. The results show declining snow amounts and strongly retreating glaciers with moderate effects on catchment runoff until the mid-21st century, whereas annual runoff volumes decrease strongly towards the end of the century.
Climate change effects on snow, glaciers and hydrology are investigated for the Ötztal Alps...
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