Richards, K. and Sharp, M. and Arnold, N. and Gurnell, A. and Clark, M. and Tranter, M and Nienow, P and Brown, G. and Willis, I. and Lawson, W. (1996)

An integrated approach to modelling hydrology and water quality in glacierized catchments

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Hydrological Processes
The results are summarized of an integrated investigation of glacier geometry, ablation patterns, water balance, meltwater routing, hydrochemistry and suspended sediment yield. The ultimate objective is to evaluate the assumptions of lumped, two-component mixing models as descriptors of glacier hydrology, and to develop a semi-distributed physically based model as an alternative. The results of the study demonstrate that a reconstruction of probable subglacial drainage alignments can be achieved through a combination of terrain modelling based on estimated potential surface and dye tracing experiments. Recession curve analysis, evidence of the seasonal instability of the englacial and subglacial electrical conductivities assumed in a mixing model, evidence of the non-conservative behaviour of water chemistry in the presence of suspended sediment, and evidence of the seasonal evolution of the subglacial drainage system based on dye tracing all indicate that an alternative to a lumped, static model of the hydrology is necessary. The alternative presented in this paper is based on the combination of an energy balance model for surface melt which operates on an hourly time step and accounts for the changing spatial distribution of melt through the day as shading patterns change, and routing procedures that transfer surface melt to moulins on the basis of glacier surface gradients, then route water through reconstructed conduit systems using a hydraulic sewer-flow routing procedure.