Modelling melt, runoff, and mass balance of a tropical glacier in the Bolivian Andes using an enhanced temperature-index model

Pablo Fuchs, Yoshihiro Asaoka, So Kazama
Received 2015/12/15, Accepted 2016/04/03, Published 2016/04/21

Pablo Fuchs1), Yoshihiro Asaoka2), So Kazama3)

1) Instituto de Hidráulica e Hidrología, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Bolivia
2) College of Engineering, Nihon University
3) Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University

This paper evaluates the feasibility of applying a coupled melt, runoff, and mass balance model to the tropical Zongo glacier (Cordillera Real, Bolivia) during two hydrological years. Melt rate was estimated using the standard degree-day method (DDM) and an enhanced temperature-index model (ETI). The latter was run with values of parameters obtained for Haut Glacier d’Arolla and a recalibrated parameter set for Zongo glacier. Glacier mass balance was calculated using snowfall inputs and modelled melt and sublimation. Estimated monthly mass balance and discharge were compared with observations from a stake network in the ablation zone and data from a hydrometric station. We concluded that ETI model agrees very well with the reference runoff and mass balance. Net mass balance over the whole glacier was predicted accurately in the ablation zone, but the model overestimated mass balance in the accumulation zone owing to the absence of observations at higher elevations; the equilibrium line altitude and accumulation area ratio were predicted within reasonable limits. The results demonstrate that ETI model is applicable in tropical conditions, provided that the parameters are recalibrated for the climatic settings of this region.

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Copyright (c) 2016 Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources

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