Articles | Volume 27
Adv. Geosci., 27, 99–109, 2010
Adv. Geosci., 27, 99–109, 2010

  28 Sep 2010

28 Sep 2010

Hydrological modelling of glacierized catchments focussing on the validation of simulated snow patterns – applications within the flood forecasting system of the Tyrolean river Inn

J. Schöber1,2, S. Achleitner3, R. Kirnbauer4, F. Schöberl2, and H. Schönlaub5 J. Schöber et al.
  • 1alpS – Centre of Natural Hazard Management, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 3Unit of Hydraulic Engineering, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 4Institute for Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineering, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria
  • 5TIWAG – Tiroler Wasserkraft AG, Innsbruck, Austria

Abstract. The catchment of the river Inn is located in the Swiss and Austrian Alps. In the frame of the flood forecasting system "HoPI" (Hochwasserprognose für den Tiroler Inn), the Austrian part of the river Inn and its tributaries are covered within a hybrid numerical model. The runoff from the glacierized headwaters of the south-western Inn tributaries is calculated using the Snow- and Icemelt Model "SES" which utilizes a spatially-distributed energy balance approach; within SES, the accumulation and melting processes for snow, firn, and ice are considered. It is of great importance that such a type of model is used in the simulation of alpine areas since in these regions stream flow is influenced by the accumulation and melt of snow and ice and snow-free glaciers have also the potential to increase or even induce flood flow. For a prototype of the forecast system, SES was calibrated using the snow depletion of a glacier, but later, following the first results during the operational mode, the model was recalibrated and validated using remotely-sensed data covering all 13 glacierized catchments. Using the final snow-parameter setting, a simulation run of 15 hydrological years without any state corrections achieved overall agreements between observed and simulated snow cover ranging from 68% to 88% for all individual catchments. Runoff was calibrated and validated using the data from three different gauges. A parameter set, including both validated snow and runoff parameters, was applied for the modelling of a fourth gauged catchment and also achieved accurate results. This final unique parameterization was transferred to the remaining, ungauged watersheds.