Articles | Volume 20, issue 10
17 Oct 2016
Research article | 17 Oct 2016
Describing the interannual variability of precipitation with the derived distribution approach: effects of record length and resolution
Claudio I. Meier et al.
No articles found.
Fabian Walter, Elias Hodel, Erik Mannerfelt, Nicolas Ackermann, Kristen Cook, Michael Dietze, Livia Estermann, Daniel Farinotti, Martin Fengler, Lukas Hammerschmidt, Flavia Hänsli, Jacob Hirschberg, Brian McArdell, and Peter Molnar
Debris flows are dangerous sediment-water mixtures in steep terrain. Their formation takes place in poorly accessible terrain, where instrumentation cannot be installed. Here we propose to monitor such source terrain with an autonomous drone for mapping sediments, which were left behind by debris flows or may contribute to future events. Short flight intervals elucidate changes of such sediments providing important information for landscape evolution and the likelihood of future debris flows.
Silvan Ragettli, Tabea Donauer, Peter Molnar, Ron Delnoije, and Tobias Siegfried
Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss.,
Revised manuscript under review for ESurfShort summary
This paper presents a novel methodology to identify and quantitatively analyze deposition and erosion patterns in ephemeral ponds or in perennial lakes with strong water level fluctuations. We apply this method to unravel the water and sediment balance of Lac Wégnia, a designated RAMSAR site in Mali. The study can be a showcase for monitoring Sahelian lakes using remote sensing data, as it sheds light on the actual drivers of change in Sahelian lakes.
Elena Leonarduzzi, Brian W. McArdell, and Peter Molnar
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 25, 5937–5950,Short summary
Landslides are a dangerous natural hazard affecting alpine regions, calling for effective warning systems. Here we consider different approaches for the prediction of rainfall-induced shallow landslides at the regional scale, based on open-access datasets and operational hydrological forecasting systems. We find antecedent wetness useful to improve upon the classical rainfall thresholds and the resolution of the hydrological model used for its estimate to be a critical aspect.
Jacob Hirschberg, Alexandre Badoux, Brian W. McArdell, Elena Leonarduzzi, and Peter Molnar
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 2773–2789,Short summary
Debris-flow prediction is often based on rainfall thresholds, but uncertainty assessments are rare. We established rainfall thresholds using two approaches and find that 25 debris flows are needed for uncertainties to converge in an Alpine basin and that the suitable method differs for regional compared to local thresholds. Finally, we demonstrate the potential of a statistical learning algorithm to improve threshold performance. These findings are helpful for early warning system development.
Marius G. Floriancic, Wouter R. Berghuijs, Tobias Jonas, James W. Kirchner, and Peter Molnar
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 5423–5438,Short summary
Low river flows affect societies and ecosystems. Here we study how precipitation and potential evapotranspiration shape low flows across a network of 380 Swiss catchments. Low flows in these rivers typically result from below-average precipitation and above-average potential evapotranspiration. Extreme low flows result from long periods of the combined effects of both drivers.
Elena Leonarduzzi and Peter Molnar
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 2905–2919,Short summary
Landslides are a natural hazard that affects alpine regions. Here we focus on rainfall-induced shallow landslides and one of the most widely used approaches for their predictions: rainfall thresholds. We design several comparisons utilizing a landslide database and rainfall records in Switzerland. We find that using daily rather than hourly rainfall might be a better option in some circumstances, and mean annual precipitation and antecedent wetness can improve predictions at the regional scale.
Giulia Battista, Peter Molnar, and Paolo Burlando
Earth Surf. Dynam., 8, 619–635,Short summary
Suspended sediment load in rivers is highly uncertain because of spatial and temporal variability. By means of a hydrology and suspended sediment transport model, we investigated the effect of spatial variability in precipitation and surface erodibility on catchment sediment fluxes in a mesoscale river basin. We found that sediment load depends on the spatial variability in erosion drivers, as this affects erosion rates and the location and connectivity to the channel of the erosion areas.
Nadav Peleg, Chris Skinner, Simone Fatichi, and Peter Molnar
Earth Surf. Dynam., 8, 17–36,Short summary
Extreme rainfall is expected to intensify with increasing temperatures, which will likely affect rainfall spatial structure. The spatial variability of rainfall can affect streamflow and sediment transport volumes and peaks. The sensitivity of the hydro-morphological response to changes in the structure of heavy rainfall was investigated. It was found that the morphological components are more sensitive to changes in rainfall spatial structure in comparison to the hydrological components.
Anna Costa, Daniela Anghileri, and Peter Molnar
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 3421–3434,Short summary
We analyse the control of hydroclimatic factors – erosive rainfall, ice melt, and snowmelt – on suspended sediment concentration (SSC) of Alpine catchments regulated by hydropower, and we develop a multivariate hydroclimatic–informed rating curve. We show that while erosive rainfall determines the variability of SSC, ice melt generates the highest contribution to SSC per unit of runoff. This approach allows the exploration of climate–driven changes in fine sediment dynamics in Alpine catchments.
Anna Costa, Peter Molnar, Laura Stutenbecker, Maarten Bakker, Tiago A. Silva, Fritz Schlunegger, Stuart N. Lane, Jean-Luc Loizeau, and Stéphanie Girardclos
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 509–528,Short summary
We explore the signal of a warmer climate in the suspended-sediment dynamics of a regulated and human-impacted Alpine catchment. We demonstrate that temperature-driven enhanced melting of glaciers, which occurred in the mid-1980s, played a dominant role in suspended sediment concentration rise, through increased runoff from sediment-rich proglacial areas, increased contribution of sediment-rich meltwater, and increased sediment supply in proglacial areas due to glacier recession.
Anna Costa, Daniela Anghileri, and Peter Molnar
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,
Manuscript not accepted for further reviewShort summary
We develop a novel rating curve to simulate suspended sediment concentration (SSC) in Alpine catchments (Process-Based Rating Curve, PBRC). Instead of relating SSC to discharge, as in traditional approaches, we model SSC by differentiating the potential contributions of the main erosional and transport processes of Alpine environments: erosive rainfall, snowmelt, and icemelt. We show that PBRC significantly improves predictions of SSC, especially when analysing climate-induced changes.
Nadav Peleg, Frank Blumensaat, Peter Molnar, Simone Fatichi, and Paolo Burlando
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 1559–1572,Short summary
We investigated the relative contribution of the spatial versus climatic rainfall variability for flow peaks by applying an advanced stochastic rainfall generator to simulate rainfall for a small urban catchment and simulate flow dynamics in the sewer system. We found that the main contribution to the total flow variability originates from the natural climate variability. The contribution of spatial rainfall variability to the total flow variability was found to increase with return periods.
Søren Thorndahl, Thomas Einfalt, Patrick Willems, Jesper Ellerbæk Nielsen, Marie-Claire ten Veldhuis, Karsten Arnbjerg-Nielsen, Michael R. Rasmussen, and Peter Molnar
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 1359–1380,Short summary
This paper reviews how weather radar data can be used in urban hydrological applications. It focuses on three areas of research: (1) temporal and spatial resolution of rainfall data, (2) rainfall estimation, radar data adjustment and data quality, and (3) nowcasting of radar rainfall and real-time applications. Moreover, the paper provides examples of urban hydrological applications which can benefit from radar rainfall data in comparison to tradition rain gauge measurements of rainfall.
Bahareh Kianfar, Simone Fatichi, Athansios Paschalis, Max Maurer, and Peter Molnar
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,
Revised manuscript has not been submittedShort summary
Raingauge observations show a large variability in extreme rainfall depths in the current climate. Climate model predictions of extreme rainfall in the future have to be compared with this natural variability. Our work shows that predictions of future extreme rainfall often lie within the range of natural variability of present-day climate, and therefore predictions of change are highly uncertain. We demonstrate this by using stochastic rainfall models and 10-min rainfall data in Switzerland.
Matteo Saletti, Peter Molnar, Marwan A. Hassan, and Paolo Burlando
Earth Surf. Dynam., 4, 549–566,Short summary
This study presents a new reduced-complexity model with few parameters linked to basic physical processes, which aims to reproduce the transport of sediment as bed load and the formation and stability of channel morphology in steep mountain streams. The model is able to simulate the formation and stability of steps, bed structures commonly encountered in steep channels, by assuming that their formation is due to intense sediment transport during high flows causing jamming of particles.
J. Hall, B. Arheimer, G. T. Aronica, A. Bilibashi, M. Boháč, O. Bonacci, M. Borga, P. Burlando, A. Castellarin, G. B. Chirico, P. Claps, K. Fiala, L. Gaál, L. Gorbachova, A. Gül, J. Hannaford, A. Kiss, T. Kjeldsen, S. Kohnová, J. J. Koskela, N. Macdonald, M. Mavrova-Guirguinova, O. Ledvinka, L. Mediero, B. Merz, R. Merz, P. Molnar, A. Montanari, M. Osuch, J. Parajka, R. A. P. Perdigão, I. Radevski, B. Renard, M. Rogger, J. L. Salinas, E. Sauquet, M. Šraj, J. Szolgay, A. Viglione, E. Volpi, D. Wilson, K. Zaimi, and G. Blöschl
Proc. IAHS, 370, 89–95,
P. Molnar, S. Fatichi, L. Gaál, J. Szolgay, and P. Burlando
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 1753–1766,Short summary
We present an empirical study of the rates of increase in precipitation intensity with air temperature using high-resolution 10 min precipitation records in Switzerland. We estimated the scaling rates for lightning (convective) and non-lightning event subsets and show that scaling rates are between 7 and 14%/C for convective rain and that mixing of storm types exaggerates the relations to air temperature. Doubled CC rates reported by other studies are an exception in our data set.
K. Džubáková, P. Molnar, K. Schindler, and M. Trizna
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 195–208,Short summary
We use a high-resolution ground-based camera system with near-infrared sensitivity to quantify the response of riparian vegetation in an Alpine river to floods with the use of vegetation indices. The vegetation showed both damage and enhancement within 1 week following floods, with a selective impact determined by pre-flood vegetation vigour, morphological setting and intensity of flood forcing. The tested vegetation indices differed in the direction of predicted change in the range 0.7-35.8%.
J. Hall, B. Arheimer, M. Borga, R. Brázdil, P. Claps, A. Kiss, T. R. Kjeldsen, J. Kriaučiūnienė, Z. W. Kundzewicz, M. Lang, M. C. Llasat, N. Macdonald, N. McIntyre, L. Mediero, B. Merz, R. Merz, P. Molnar, A. Montanari, C. Neuhold, J. Parajka, R. A. P. Perdigão, L. Plavcová, M. Rogger, J. L. Salinas, E. Sauquet, C. Schär, J. Szolgay, A. Viglione, and G. Blöschl
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2735–2772,
L. Gaál, P. Molnar, and J. Szolgay
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1561–1573,
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Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 26, 245–263,Short summary
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Thibaut Lachaut and Amaury Tilmant
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Lila Collet, Shaun Harrigan, Christel Prudhomme, Giuseppe Formetta, and Lindsay Beevers
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Jessica E. Cherry, Corrie Knapp, Sarah Trainor, Andrea J. Ray, Molly Tedesche, and Susan Walker
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 133–151,Short summary
We know that climate is changing quickly in the Far North (the Arctic and sub-Arctic). Hydropower continues to grow in this region because water resources are perceived to be plentiful. However, with changes in glacier extent and permafrost, and more extreme events, will those resources prove reliable into the future? This study amasses the evidence that quantitative hydrology modeling and uncertainty assessment have matured to the point where they should be used in water resource planning.
Usman T. Khan and Caterina Valeo
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 2267–2293,Short summary
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M. Biasutti and R. Seager
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 2945–2961,Short summary
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Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 1615–1639,Short summary
We present a proof-of-concept approximation of within-GCM uncertainty using non-stationary stochastic replicates of monthly precipitation and temperature projections and investigate the impact of within-GCM uncertainty on projected runoff and reservoir yield. Amplification of within-GCM variability from precipitation to runoff to reservoir yield suggests climate change impact assessments ignoring within-GCM uncertainty would provide water resources managers with an unjustified sense of certainty
T. A. McMahon, M. C. Peel, and D. J. Karoly
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 361–377,Short summary
Here we assess GCM performance from a hydrologic perspective. We identify five better performing CMIP3 GCMs that reproduce grid-scale climatological statistics of observed precipitation and temperature over global land regions for future hydrologic simulation. GCM performance in reproducing observed mean and standard deviation of annual precipitation, mean annual temperature and mean monthly precipitation and temperature was assessed and ranked, and five better performing GCMs were identified.
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Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 3777–3785,
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Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2219–2234,
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We show that the derived distribution approach is able to characterize the interannual variability of precipitation much better than fitting a probabilistic model to annual rainfall totals, as long as continuously gauged data are available. The method is a useful tool for describing temporal changes in the distribution of annual rainfall, as it works for records as short as 5 years, and therefore does not require any stationarity assumption over long periods.
We show that the derived distribution approach is able to characterize the interannual...