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Influence of spatial discretization, underground water storage and glacier melt on a physically-based hydrological model of the Upper Durance River basin

M. Lafaysse 1 B. Hingray 2 P. Etchevers 1 E. Martin 3 C. Obled 4
1 CEN - Centre d'Etudes de la Neige
CNRM - Centre national de recherches météorologiques
2 HMCI
LTHE - Laboratoire d'étude des transferts en hydrologie et environnement
4 CHYC
LTHE - Laboratoire d'étude des transferts en hydrologie et environnement
Abstract : The SAFRAN-ISBA-MODCOU hydrological model (Habets et al., 2008) presents severe limitations for alpine catchments. Here we propose possible model adaptations. For the catchment discretization, Relatively Homogeneous Hydrological Units (RHHUs) are used instead of the classical 8 km square grid. They are defined from the dilineation of hydrological subbasins, elevation bands, and aspect classes. Glacierized and non-glacierized areas are also treated separately. In addition, new modules are included in the model for the simulation of glacier melt, and retention of underground water. The improvement resulting from each model modification is analysed for the Upper Durance basin. RHHUs allow the model to better account for the high spatial variability of the hydrological processes (e.g. snow cover). The timing and the intensity of the spring snowmelt floods are significantly improved owing to the representation of water retention by aquifers. Despite the relatively small area covered by glaciers, accounting for glacier melt is necessary for simulating the late summer low flows. The modified model is robust over a long simulation period and it produces a good reproduction of the intra and interannual variability of discharge, which is a necessary condition for its application in a modified climate context.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-00648726
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 12:11:46 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 3:54:30 PM

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M. Lafaysse, B. Hingray, P. Etchevers, E. Martin, C. Obled. Influence of spatial discretization, underground water storage and glacier melt on a physically-based hydrological model of the Upper Durance River basin. Journal of Hydrology, Elsevier, 2011, 403 (1-2), pp.116-129. ⟨10.1016/j.jhydrol.2011.03.046⟩. ⟨insu-00648726⟩

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