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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-629
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-629
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  16 Nov 2017

16 Nov 2017

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This preprint was under review for the journal HESS but the revision was not accepted.

Hydrological response to climate extremes in mesoscale (pre-)Alpine basins at 0.5° and hyperresolution

Joost Buitink, Remko Uijlenhoet, and Adriaan J. Teuling Joost Buitink et al.
  • Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Abstract. The response of key hydrological variables to climate extremes within five meso-scale basins in the Swiss Alps is investigated at two different resolutions using the distributed hydrological model Spatial Processes in Hydrology (SPHY). Based on elevation and presence of glaciers, three catchments are identified as Alpine and two as pre-Alpine. We run SPHY both at hyperresolution and at 0.5 × 0.5 degree, and aggregate simulated runoff and evapotranspiration per season. For four seasonal extremes representing flood and drought/heatwave conditions we investigate the simulated response at both model resolutions. Results from the high resolution model show that the within-basin response gets more complex with more extreme events. The response within each basin can be grouped per land use type, due to different dominant runoff generating processes. A comparison with the coarse resolution model results shows that there is a large discrepancy between the two simulated responses. The low resolution model is not able to correctly simulate the complex hydrological response as simulated with the distributed model, since both the complex topography and land use classes are not properly represented. We show that hydrological response simulated with a high resolution model can be a lot more extreme than a low resolution model might indicate, which has important implications for global assessments carried out at course resolution.

Joost Buitink et al.

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Joost Buitink et al.

Joost Buitink et al.

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Short summary
We compared the hydrological response simulated at two different spatial resolutions. The low resolution model was not able to simulate the complex response as was simulated with the high resolution model. The low resolution model underestimated the anomalies when compared with the high resolution model. This has implications on the interpretation of global scale impact studies (low resolution) on local or regional scales (high resolution).
We compared the hydrological response simulated at two different spatial resolutions. The low...
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