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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-394
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-394
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 26 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 26 Aug 2019

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

Comparing Bayesian and traditional end-member mixing approaches for hydrograph separation in a glacierized basin

Zhihua He1,a, Katy Unger-Shayestehb, Sergiy Vorogushyn1, Stephan M. Weise3, Doris Duethmann4, Olga Kalashnikova5, Abror Gafurov1, and Bruno Merz1,2 Zhihua He et al.
  • 1GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section Hydrology, Telegrafenberg, Potsdam, Germany
  • 2University of Potsdam, Institute forEnvironmental Sciences and Geography, Potsdam, Germany
  • 3UFZ Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ, Department Catchment Hydrology, Halle, Germany
  • 4Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and WaterResources Management, Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), Vienna, Austria
  • 5CAIAG Central Asian Institute of Applied Geosciences, Department Climate, Water and Natural Resources, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • anow at: Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • bnow at: German Aerospace Center (DLR), International Relations, Linder Höhe, Cologne, Germany

Abstract. Water tracer data have been successfully used for hydrograph separation in glacierized basins. However, uncertainties in the hydrograph separation are large in these basins, caused by the spatio-temporal variability in the tracer signatures of water sources, the uncertainty of water sampling and the mixing model uncertainty. In this study, we used electrical conductivity (EC) measurements and two isotope signatures (δ18O and δ2H) to label the runoff components, including groundwater, snow and glacier meltwater, and rainfall, in a Central Asia glacierized basin. The contributions of runoff components (CRC) to the total runoff, as well as the corresponding uncertainty, were quantified by two mixing approaches: a traditional end-member mixing approach (TEMMA) and a Bayesian end-member mixing approach. The performance of the two mixing approaches were compared in three seasons, distinguished as cold season, snowmelt season and glacier melt season. Results show that: 1) The Bayesian approach generally estimated smaller uncertainty ranges for the CRC compared to the TEMMA. 2) The Bayesian approach tended to be less sensitive to the sampling uncertainties of meltwater than the TEMMA. 3) Ignoring the model uncertainty caused by the isotope fractionation likely leaded to an overestimated rainfall contribution and an underestimated meltwater share in the melt seasons. Our study provides the first comparison of the two end-member mixing approaches for hydrograph separation in glacierized basins, and gives insights for the application of tracer-based mixing approaches for similar basins.

Zhihua He et al.
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Short summary
Quantifying the seasonal contributions of the runoff components, including groundwater, snowmelt, glacier melt and rainfall, to the total streamflow is highly needed for the understanding of the dynamics of water resource in glacierized basins, given the vulnerability of snow and glacier dominated environments to the current climate warming. Our study provides the first comparison of two end-member mixing approaches for hydrograph separation in glacierized basins.
Quantifying the seasonal contributions of the runoff components, including groundwater,...
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