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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Oct 2018

Research article | 17 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Hydrological modelling and future runoff of the Damma Glacier CZO watershed using SWAT. Validation of the model in the greater area of the Göscheneralpsee, Switzerland

Maria Andrianaki1, Juna Shrestha1, Florian Kobierska1,2, Nikolaos P. Nikolaidis3, and Stefano M. Bernasconi1 Maria Andrianaki et al.
  • 1Geological Institute, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, 7260 Davos, Switzerland
  • 3Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete, 73100 Chania, Greece

Abstract. In this study, we investigated the application of the Soil Water and Assessment Tool (SWAT) for the simulation of runoff in the partly glacierised watershed of the Damma glacier Critical Zone Observatory (CZO), Switzerland. The model was calibrated using daily time steps for the period of 2009–2011, while two different approaches were used for its validation. Initially the model was validated using daily data for the years 2012–2013. Subsequently, the calibrated version of the model was applied on the greater area that drains to the hydropower reservoir of the Göscheneralpsee and includes the Damma glacier watershed, using inflow data. This validation approach can help in assessing model uncertainty under changing land use and climate forcing. Model performance was evaluated both visually and statistically and it was found that even though SWAT has rarely been used in high alpine and glacierised areas and despite the complexity of simulating the extreme conditions of Damma glacier watershed; its performance was very satisfactory. Our novel validation approach proved to be successful since the performance of the model was similarly good when applied for the greater catchment feeding Göscheneralpsee. Finally, we investigated the response of the two regions, Damma glacier and its greater area, to climate change using SWAT and results were compared to a previous study using the models PREVAH and ALPINE 3D. It confirmed that SWAT can predict changes in future runoff and peak flow in alpine areas with the same accuracy as more demanding models such as ALPINE 3D and PREVAH. This study demonstrates the applicability of SWAT in high elevation, snow and glacier dominated watersheds and in quantifying the effects of climate change on water resources.

Maria Andrianaki et al.
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Maria Andrianaki et al.
Maria Andrianaki et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We studied the hydrology of the Damma glacier watershed and the impact of climate change, by applying the model SWAT. Climate change scenarios showed that runoff will change significantly in the future. Future daily runoff in May and June, is predicted to increase. However, future runoff from July to October is significantly decreased. These results proved that SWAT can be used for a glacierised watershed and can be a useful tool for water managers and policy makers.
We studied the hydrology of the Damma glacier watershed and the impact of climate change, by...