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https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1687
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1687
18 Jun 2024
 | 18 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Scale-dependency in modeling nivo-glacial hydrological systems: the case of the Arolla basin, Switzerland

Anne-Laure Argentin, Pascal Horton, Bettina Schaefli, Jamal Shokory, Felix Pitscheider, Leona Repnik, Mattia Gianini, Simone Bizzi, Stuart Lane, and Francesco Comiti

Abstract. Hydrological modeling in alpine catchments poses unique challenges due to the complex interplay of meteorological, topographical, glaciological and streamflow generation factors. A significant issue arises from the limited availability of streamflow data due to the scarcity of high-elevation gauging stations. Consequently, there is a pressing need to assess whether streamflow models that are calibrated with moderate-elevation datasets can be effectively transferred to higher-elevation catchments, notwithstanding differences in the relative importance of different streamflow-generation processes. Here, we investigate the spatial transferability of hydrological model parameters within a semi-lumped modeling framework. We focus on evaluating the model transferability from the main catchment to nested and neighboring subcatchments in the Arolla valley, southwestern Swiss Alps. We use the Hydrobricks modeling framework to simulate streamflow patterns, implementing three variants of a temperature-index snow- and ice melt model (the classical degree-day, aspect-related, and Hock's temperature index). Through a comprehensive analysis of streamflow simulations, benchmark metrics consisting of bootstrapped discharge series, and model performance, we demonstrate that robust parameter transferability and accurate streamflow simulation are possible across diverse spatial scales. This finding is conditional upon the used melt model, with melt models using more spatial information leading to convergence of the model parameters until there is an onset of overparameterization.

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Anne-Laure Argentin, Pascal Horton, Bettina Schaefli, Jamal Shokory, Felix Pitscheider, Leona Repnik, Mattia Gianini, Simone Bizzi, Stuart Lane, and Francesco Comiti

Status: open (until 13 Aug 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1687', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Jul 2024 reply
Anne-Laure Argentin, Pascal Horton, Bettina Schaefli, Jamal Shokory, Felix Pitscheider, Leona Repnik, Mattia Gianini, Simone Bizzi, Stuart Lane, and Francesco Comiti
Anne-Laure Argentin, Pascal Horton, Bettina Schaefli, Jamal Shokory, Felix Pitscheider, Leona Repnik, Mattia Gianini, Simone Bizzi, Stuart Lane, and Francesco Comiti

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Short summary
In this article, we show that by taking the optimal parameters calibrated with a semi-lumped model for the discharge at a catchment's outlet, we can accurately simulate runoff at various points within the study area, including three nested and three neighboring catchments. In addition, we demonstrate that employing more intricate melt models, which better represent physical processes, enhances the transfer of parameters in the simulation, until an overparametrization limit is reached.