IAHR, founded in 1935, is a worldwide independent member-based organisation of engineers and water specialists working in fields related to the hydro-environmental sciences and their practical application. Activities range from river and maritime hydraulics to water resources development and eco-hydraulics, through to ice engineering, hydroinformatics, and hydraulic machinery.
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You are here : eLibrary : IAHR World Congress Proceedings : 33rd Congress - Vancouver (2009) : Topic C: Water Engineering for the Protection and Enhancement of Natural Watershed/Aquifer Environme... : Effect of climate change on hydrological cycle and evolution of the rhone glacier
Effect of climate change on hydrological cycle and evolution of the rhone glacier
Author : J. García Hernández , J. Deval Castillo , J-L. Boillat , A. J. Schleiss
Climate change is a commonly admitted reality and scenarios are scientifically elaborated to predict its time evolution. In Alpine regions, a rise of temperature and a decrease of average precipitation are predicted. Hence, important changes are expected for the next decades in glacial regions. A numerical model is developed to simulate the relation between climatic changes and hydrological cycles for the XXIst Century, as well as their effects on the evolution of glaciers. A new approach is proposed for modelling the snow cover and retreat of glaciers applied to the Rhone glacier in Switzerland. The basic meteorological data comprises hourly measurement series from different stations around the catchment area, providing spatially distributed precipitations and temperatures. Meteorological series are completed for the future, when combining historical measurements and monthly predicted variations. A semi-distributed conceptual hydrological model was developed allowing the simulation of snow balance, glacier melt, soil infiltration and run-off processes. The conceptual snow and ice models have been improved by considering the mass balance and snow transfer describing the glacier evolution. This approach is applied to the Rhone glacier to examine its evolution, after the model had been previously calibrated and validated using annual ice surface changes and monthly runoff measurements. The results show a continuous and significant reduction of the area of the Rhone glacier of 50% until 2070 while the hydrological cycle is strongly affected. A small increase in the glacier flow is expected during the first years until 2040 to 2050, followed by a decrease. The seasonal discharge variations predict an increase during autumn, winter and especially spring. A flow reduction of is expected in summer.
File Size : 349,682 bytes
File Type : Adobe Acrobat Document
Chapter : IAHR World Congress Proceedings
Category : 33rd Congress - Vancouver (2009)
Article : Topic C: Water Engineering for the Protection and Enhancement of Natural Watershed/Aquifer Environments
Date Published : 09/08/2009
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