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Snowmelt Contributions to Runoff in an Extremely Wide Altitude Range from Large Area Satellite Imagery

K. Seidel and J. Martinec
5th International Workshop on The Applications of Remote Sensing in Hydrology, Montpellier, France
Montpellier, France, October 2001

Abstract

Based on periodical snow cover mapping by NOAA satellites, contributions to runoff from seasonal snow cover, intermittent snowfalls and rain are evaluated in relation to the altitude in the basins of the rivers Ganges (917'444 km2) and Brahmaputra (547'346 km2) in an altitude range from 0 to 8848 m a.s.l. In spite of insufficient precipitation and temperature data, runoff was simulated with an acceptable accuracy by the SRM model, as an indirect confirmation of the respective input quantities. Snowmelt including new snow contributes by 9% to runoff in the Ganges basin and by 27% in the Brahmaputra basin, in line with the shape of area-elevation curves. With the climate scenario assumed for this region, an increase of runoff and flood risks by the year 2030 was modelled. Based on the NOAA/AVHRR imagery, a relation between the percentage of snow in precipitation in relation to altitude was derived. The 50% point is by 1500 m higher than that of a similar relation derived from the Swiss snow gauging stations in a limited elevation range. This is in line with the more southern geographical latitude of the Himalayan basins.


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@InProceedings{eth_biwi_00225,
  author = {K. Seidel and J. Martinec},
  title = {Snowmelt Contributions to Runoff in an Extremely Wide Altitude Range from Large Area Satellite Imagery},
  booktitle = {5th International Workshop on The Applications of Remote Sensing in Hydrology, Montpellier, France},
  year = {2001},
  month = {October},
  series = {CD IAHS Publ.},
  keywords = {remote sensing, hydrology, SRM, runoff modeling}
}