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Article

What Can We Learn from Comparing Glacio-Hydrological Models?

1
Department of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2
Department of Geography, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
3
Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change, University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
4
Institute of Mountain Risk Engineering (IAN), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, 1190 Vienna, Austria
5
ENVEO IT GmbH, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
6
TIWAG-Tiroler Wasserkraft AG, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
7
ILF Consulting Engineers Austria GmbH, 6063 Rum bei Innsbruck, Austria
8
Institute of Hydrology and Water Resources Management, Leibniz Universität Hannover, 30167 Hannover, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Formerly: alpS GmbH, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(9), 981; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11090981
Received: 19 August 2020 / Revised: 4 September 2020 / Accepted: 11 September 2020 / Published: 14 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climatological and Hydrological Processes in Mountain Regions)
Glacio-hydrological models combine both glacier and catchment hydrology modeling and are used to assess the hydrological response of high-mountain glacierized catchments to climate change. To capture the uncertainties from these model combinations, it is essential to compare the outcomes of several model entities forced with the same climate projections. For the first time, we compare the results of two completely independent glacio-hydrological models: (i) HQsim-GEM and (ii) AMUNDSEN. In contrast to prevailing studies, we use distinct glacier models and glacier initialization times. At first glance, the results achieved for future glacier states and hydrological characteristics in the Rofenache catchment in Ötztal Alps (Austria) appear to be similar and consistent, but a closer look reveals clear differences. What can be learned from this study is that low-complexity models can achieve higher accuracy in the calibration period. This is advantageous especially when data availability is weak, and priority is given to efficient computation time. Furthermore, the time and method of glacier initialization play an important role due to different data requirements. In essence, it is not possible to make conclusions about the model performance outside of the calibration period or more specifically in the future. Hence, similar to climate modeling, we suggest considering different modeling approaches when assessing future catchment discharge or glacier evolution. Especially when transferring the results to stakeholders, it is vital to transparently communicate the bandwidth of future states that come with all model results. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; glacier retreat; glacio-hydrological models; model comparison; modeling future runoff; glacierized catchments; snow and ice melt; catchment hydrology climate change; glacier retreat; glacio-hydrological models; model comparison; modeling future runoff; glacierized catchments; snow and ice melt; catchment hydrology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Stoll, E.; Hanzer, F.; Oesterle, F.; Nemec, J.; Schöber, J.; Huttenlau, M.; Förster, K. What Can We Learn from Comparing Glacio-Hydrological Models? Atmosphere 2020, 11, 981. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11090981

AMA Style

Stoll E, Hanzer F, Oesterle F, Nemec J, Schöber J, Huttenlau M, Förster K. What Can We Learn from Comparing Glacio-Hydrological Models? Atmosphere. 2020; 11(9):981. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11090981

Chicago/Turabian Style

Stoll, Elena, Florian Hanzer, Felix Oesterle, Johanna Nemec, Johannes Schöber, Matthias Huttenlau, and Kristian Förster. 2020. "What Can We Learn from Comparing Glacio-Hydrological Models?" Atmosphere 11, no. 9: 981. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11090981

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