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This content will become publicly available on November 19, 2016

Title: Predicting glacio-hydrologic change in the headwaters of the Zongo River, Cordillera Real, Bolivia

In many partially glacierized watersheds glacier recession driven by a warming climate could lead to complex patterns of streamflow response over time, often marked with rapid increases followed by sharp declines, depending on initial glacier ice cover and rate of climate change. Capturing such "phases'' of hydrologic response is critical in regions where communities rely on glacier meltwater, particularly during low flows. In this study, we investigate glacio-hydrologic response in the headwaters of the Zongo River, Bolivia, under climate change using a distributed glacio-hydrological model over the period of 1987-2100. Model predictions are evaluated through comparisons with satellite-derived glacier extent estimates, glacier surface velocity, in situ glacier mass balance, surface energy flux, and stream discharge measurements. Historically (1987-2010) modeled glacier melt accounts for 27% of annual runoff, and 61% of dry season (JJA) runoff on average. During this period the relative glacier cover was observed to decline from 35 to 21% of the watershed. In the future, annual and dry season discharge is projected to decrease by 4% and 27% by midcentury and 25% and 57% by the end of the century, respectively, following the loss of 81% of the ice in the watershed. Modeled runoff patterns evolve through themore » interplay of positive and negative trends in glacier melt and increased evapotranspiration as the climate warms. Sensitivity analyses demonstrate that the selection of model surface energy balance parameters greatly influences the trajectory of hydrological change projected during the first half of the 21st century. In conclusion, these model results underscore the importance of coupled glacio-hydrology modeling.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7]
  1. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
  2. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  4. Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC (Canada)
  5. Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble (France)
  6. Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States); Quantum Spatial, Portland, Oregon (United States)
  7. Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 51; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 1944-7973
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States