Articles | Volume 20, issue 2
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 859–874, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-859-2016

Special issue: HYPER Droughts (HYdrological Precipitation – Evaporation...

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 859–874, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-859-2016
Research article
23 Feb 2016
Research article | 23 Feb 2016

Importance of maximum snow accumulation for summer low flows in humid catchments

Michal Jenicek et al.

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Cited articles

Andréassian, V., Coron, L., Lerat, J., and Le Moine, N.: Climate elasticity of streamflow revisited – an elasticity index based on long-term hydrometeorological records, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 12, 3645–3679, https://doi.org/10.5194/hessd-12-3645-2015, 2015.
Barnett, T. P., Adam, J. C., and Lettenmaier, D. P.: Potential impacts of a warming climate on water availability in snow-dominated regions, Nature, 438, 303–309, https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04141, 2005.
Bavay, M., Lehning, M., Jonas, T., and Löwe, H.: Simulations of future snow cover and discharge in Alpine headwater catchments, Hydrol. Process., 23, 95–108, https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.7195, 2009.
Beaulieu, M., Schreier, H., and Jost, G.: A shifting hydrological regime: a field investigation of snowmelt runoff processes and their connection to summer base flow, Sunshine Coast, British Columbia, Hydrol. Process., 26, 2672–2682, https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.9404, 2012.
Berghuijs, W. R., Woods, R. A., and Hrachowitz, M.: A precipitation shift from snow towards rain leads to a decrease in streamflow, Nat. Clim. Change, 4, 583–586, https://doi.org/10.1038/NCLIMATE2246, 2014.
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Short summary
We quantified how long snowmelt affects runoff, and we estimated the sensitivity of catchments to changes in snowpack. This is relevant as the increase of air temperature might cause decreased snow storage. We used time series from 14 catchments in Switzerland. On average, a decrease of maximum snow storage by 10 % caused a decrease of minimum discharge in July by 2 to 9 %. The results showed a higher sensitivity of summer low flow to snow in alpine catchments compared to pre-alpine catchments.