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The influence of resolution and topographic uncertainty on melt modelling using hypsometric sub-grid parameterization


Hebeler, Felix; Purves, Ross S (2008). The influence of resolution and topographic uncertainty on melt modelling using hypsometric sub-grid parameterization. Hydrological Processes, 22:3965-3979.

Abstract

Modelling of physical processes such as ablation or runoff at continental or global scales provides a key challenge: a high degree of abstraction is required in order to minimize computational demands, while spatial and temporal variability of key processes, often at the sub-scale level, need to be adequately captured and reproduced within a lower resolution model. For some approaches, such as temperature index models, downscaling to lower resolutions is straightforward. However a key issue when using these downscaled models is to assess the impact of scaling on model behaviour and results, including the associated uncertainties. We assess the impact of scaling on both a simple and an enhanced temperature index melt model from 100 m to 1, 5 and 10 km resolutions. Different sub-grid parameterization approaches are applied to both models across all resolutions and tested for their suitability against high-resolution reference data, with the aim of developing a robust, scalable and computationally undemanding parameterization. Results show patterns of over- and underestimation of potential melt rates for both models, with clear dependencies on scale, terrain roughness and variations of temperature thresholds, among other quantities. The sub-grid parameterizations tested in this article are found to effectively compensate these effects at little additional computational cost.

Modelling of physical processes such as ablation or runoff at continental or global scales provides a key challenge: a high degree of abstraction is required in order to minimize computational demands, while spatial and temporal variability of key processes, often at the sub-scale level, need to be adequately captured and reproduced within a lower resolution model. For some approaches, such as temperature index models, downscaling to lower resolutions is straightforward. However a key issue when using these downscaled models is to assess the impact of scaling on model behaviour and results, including the associated uncertainties. We assess the impact of scaling on both a simple and an enhanced temperature index melt model from 100 m to 1, 5 and 10 km resolutions. Different sub-grid parameterization approaches are applied to both models across all resolutions and tested for their suitability against high-resolution reference data, with the aim of developing a robust, scalable and computationally undemanding parameterization. Results show patterns of over- and underestimation of potential melt rates for both models, with clear dependencies on scale, terrain roughness and variations of temperature thresholds, among other quantities. The sub-grid parameterizations tested in this article are found to effectively compensate these effects at little additional computational cost.

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8 citations in Web of Science®
6 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:April 2008
Deposited On:10 Sep 2008 09:25
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:24
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0885-6087
Funders:SNF
Additional Information:The attached file is a preprint (accepted version) of an article published in Hydrological Processes 2008, 22:3965-3979
Publisher DOI:10.1002/hyp.7034
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-2810

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