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Hydrology 2017, 4(2), 20; doi:10.3390/hydrology4020020

Analysis and Predictability of the Hydrological Response of Mountain Catchments to Heavy Rain on Snow Events: A Case Study in the Spanish Pyrenees

1
Meteoexploration, Höttinger Gasse 21/17, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2
Department Procesos Geoambientales y Cambio Global, Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, C.S.I.C, E-50059 Zaragoza, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 February 2017 / Revised: 20 March 2017 / Accepted: 26 March 2017 / Published: 29 March 2017
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Abstract

From 18 to 19 June 2013, the Ésera river in the Pyrenees, Northern Spain, caused widespread damage due to flooding as a result of torrential rains and sustained snowmelt. We estimate the contribution of snow melt to total discharge applying a snow energy balance to the catchment. Precipitation is derived from sparse local measurements and the WRF-ARW model over three nested domains, down to a grid cell size of 2 km. Temperature profiles, precipitation and precipitation gradient are well simulated, although with a possible displacement regarding the observations. Snowpack melting was correctly reproduced and verified in three instrumented sites, and according to satellite images. We found that the hydrological simulations agree well with measured discharge. Snowmelt represented 33% of total runoff during the main flood event and 23% at peak flow. The snow energy balance model indicates that most of the energy for snow melt during the day of maximum precipitation came from turbulent fluxes. This approach forecast correctly peak flow and discharge during normal conditions at least 24 h in advance and could give an early warning of the extreme event 2.5 days before. View Full-Text
Keywords: ROS; snow; rain; flood; WRF; numerical weather forecast; energy balance; discharge estimation; early alert system ROS; snow; rain; flood; WRF; numerical weather forecast; energy balance; discharge estimation; early alert system
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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).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Corripio, J.G.; López-Moreno, J.I. Analysis and Predictability of the Hydrological Response of Mountain Catchments to Heavy Rain on Snow Events: A Case Study in the Spanish Pyrenees. Hydrology 2017, 4, 20.

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