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Hindcasting and projections of hydro-climatic conditions of Southern Spitsbergen (Hindcasting and projections of hydro-climatic conditions of Southern Spitsbergen)

The main objective of the project is to identify the rainfall-runoff processes in the four Arctic catchments located in South Spitsbergen. This project aims at presenting an updated water-balance study based on meteorological, hydrological, and glacier mass-balance monitoring from previous years and projections for the future.

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Project date

Starts
2018-10-31

Ends
2021-10-30

Project status

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Project type

  • field work
  • remote sensing
  • modelling
  • long-term monitoring
  • data management
  • education and outreach

Discipline

  • atmosphere
  • cryosphere
  • other

Project Keywords

  • terrestrial hydrosphere / surface water / rivers/streams
  • cryosphere / frozen ground / active layer
  • terrestrial hydrosphere / surface water / runoff
  • cryosphere / frozen ground / seasonally frozen ground
  • terrestrial hydrosphere / surface water / total surface water
  • terrestrial hydrosphere / surface water / watershed characteristics
  • terrestrial hydrosphere / ground water / water table

Fieldwork information

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Summary

The main objective of the project is to identify the rainfall-runoff processes in the four Arctic catchments located in South Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. This project aims at presenting an updated water-balance study based on meteorological, hydrological, and glacier mass-balance monitoring from previous years and projections for the future. For that purpose it is planned to use archival data and to collect new hydrometeorological data that will enable the development of rainfall-runoff models for the Southern Spitsbergen Arctic catchments. Due to the existing logistics facilities the study area includes: Fuglebekken and Ariedalen - located in the vicinity of the Polish Polar Station Hornsund, Bratteggelva and Werenskioldbreen near the Wroc?aw Polar Station "Baranówka". It is planned to develop several rainfall-runoff models, which will allow the reconstruction of the past hydrological conditions, as well as projection of the future hydro-climatic conditions on the basis of simulations using climate models with different spatial resolution. Due to complexity of cold region hydrological systems, a catchment response can vary depending not only on climate forcing but also on catchment properties including: the state and distribution of permafrost, water storage capacity, glacial coverage, soil properties, elevation, and geomorphology. One of the most important factors influencing the water runoff regime, and so far poorly recognized is the degree of glacial coverage. In this project it is planned to analyze the effect of the level of catchment glaciation (analysis of four basins with different glacial coverage) on the current and future hydrological regimes, based on observation data and climate simulations. Another objective is to evaluate the effect of changes of the active layer thickness on the rainfall-runoff transformation. The research hypothesis is that changes in the active layer have a significant influence on parameterization of hydrological models and on catchment response to precipitation. Hydrological modelling of polar catchments with varying depths of active layer, requires analysis of non-stationarity of environmental conditions and their influence on simulated runoff. For this purpose, the results of measurements of the ground thermal regime at selected polar stations will be applied.

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