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Title: Modeling the effect of glacier recession on streamflow response using a coupled glacio-hydrological model

We describe an integrated spatially distributed hydrologic and glacier dynamic model, and use it to investigate the effect of glacier recession on streamflow variations for the Upper Bow River basin, a tributary of the South Saskatchewan River. Several recent studies have suggested that observed decreases in summer flows in the South Saskatchewan River are partly due to the retreat of glaciers in the river's headwaters. Modeling the effect of glacier changes on streamflow response in river basins such as the South Saskatchewan is complicated due to the inability of most existing physically-based distributed hydrologic models to represent glacier dynamics. We compare predicted variations in glacier extent, snow water equivalent and streamflow discharge made with the integrated model with satellite estimates of glacier area and terminus position, observed streamflow and snow water equivalent measurements over the period of 1980 2007. Simulations with the coupled hydrology-glacier model reduce the uncertainty in streamflow predictions. Our results suggested that on average, the glacier melt contribution to the Bow River flow upstream of Lake Louise is about 30% in summer. For warm and dry years, however, the glacier melt contribution can be as large as 50% in August, whereas for cold years, it can bemore » as small as 20% and the timing of glacier melt signature can be delayed by a month.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [2]
  1. ORNL
  2. University of Washington, Seattle
  3. University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  4. Watershed Sciences Inc. (WSI), Portland
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences; Journal Volume: 18; Journal Issue: 2
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States