Next Article in Journal
Assessment of Hydrogeochemistry and Environmental Isotopes in Karst Springs of Makook Anticline, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
Next Article in Special Issue
Flash Flood Prediction by Coupling KINEROS2 and HEC-RAS Models for Tropical Regions of Northern Vietnam
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
The Use of H-SAF Soil Moisture Products for Operational Hydrology: Flood Modelling over Italy
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Hydrology 2015, 2(1), 23-47; doi:10.3390/hydrology2010023

Impacts of Forest Fires and Climate Variability on the Hydrology of an Alpine Medium Sized Catchment in the Canadian Rocky Mountains

1
Department of Geography, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU), Luisenstr. 37, D-80333 Munich, Germany
2
Department of Geography, University of Lethbridge, Alberta Water and Environmental Science Building, 4401 University Drive, Lethbridge, AB T1K-3M4, Canada
3
Applied Behavioral Ecology and Ecosystems Research Unit, University of South Africa, PO Box 392, Florida, 1710 Pretoria, South Africa
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Luca Brocca and Okke Batelaan
Received: 21 August 2014 / Revised: 4 January 2015 / Accepted: 27 January 2015 / Published: 5 February 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrological Modeling: Beyond Runoff Calibration)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [29470 KB, uploaded 5 February 2015]   |  

Abstract

This study investigates the hydrology of Castle River in the southern Canadian Rocky Mountains. Temperature and precipitation data are analyzed regarding a climate trend between 1960 and 2010 and a general warming is identified. Observed streamflow has been declining in reaction to a decreasing snow cover and increasing evapotranspiration. To simulate the hydrological processes in the watershed, the physically based hydrological model WaSiM (Water Balance Simulation Model) is applied. Calibration and validation provide very accurate results and also the observed declining runoff trend can be reproduced with a slightly differing inclination. Besides climate change induced runoff variations, the impact of a vast wildfire in 2003 is analyzed. To determine burned areas a remote sensing method of differenced burn ratios is applied using Landsat data. The results show good agreement compared to observed fire perimeter areas. The impacts of the wildfires are evident in observed runoff data. They also result in a distinct decrease in model efficiency if not considered via an adapted model parameterization, taking into account the modified land cover characteristics for the burned area. Results in this study reveal (i) the necessity to establish specific land cover classes for burned areas; (ii) the relevance of climate and land cover change on the hydrological response of the Castle River watershed; and (iii) the sensitivity of the hydrological model to accurately simulate the hydrological behavior under varying boundary conditions. By these means, the presented methodological approach is considered robust to implement a scenario simulations framework for projecting the impacts of future climate and land cover change in the vulnerable region of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. View Full-Text
Keywords: alpine watershed; hydrological modeling; WaSiM; climate change; runoff trend; wildfires; remote sensing of burned areas alpine watershed; hydrological modeling; WaSiM; climate change; runoff trend; wildfires; remote sensing of burned areas
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Springer, J.; Ludwig, R.; Kienzle, S.W. Impacts of Forest Fires and Climate Variability on the Hydrology of an Alpine Medium Sized Catchment in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Hydrology 2015, 2, 23-47.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Hydrology EISSN 2306-5338 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top